‘Old Men’ by Asim Talib, the winning photograph in the ‘Azerbaijan Through the Lens’ competition
PERSPECTIVES ON AZERBAIJAN EXHIBITED IN LONDON Also in this issue: Baku to stage first European Olympics in 2015 Azerbaijan announces plans to open ICT university OSCE Chair requests swift Nagorno-Karabakh resolution TANAP to be completed by 2018 Azerbaijan comes closer to WTO accession www.teas.eu
12 / 2012
www.teas.eu December 2012
Welcome to The European Azerbaijan Society
The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) is a pan-European organisation dedicated to promoting Azerbaijani culture, business and public affairs to international audiences. TEAS is also actively involved in helping create a sense of community amongst expatriate Azerbaijanis. TEAS was launched in November 2008, having initially been established as the London Azerbaijan Society four years earlier. The organisation now has offices in the UK, Belgium, France and Germany, together with a representative office in Azerbaijan. TEAS has three main façets to its operations: • • •
Culture – TEAS raises awareness of Azerbaijan’s rich and vibrant culture to a worldwide audience by organising cultural events and operating as a networking centre. Business – TEAS supports its membership of European and Azerbaijani businesses. It provides a platform for organisations to establish links and strengthen their existing business relationships via a programme of networking opportunities across the region. Public Affairs – TEAS works to increase awareness about Azerbaijan amongst key opinion formers, key decision-makers and other political, academic and civil society stakeholders.
TEAS is focused on achieving the following: • • • • •
The establishment of strong links between key Azerbaijani and European stakeholders, thereby helping Azerbaijan to integrate fully into the European family of nations. Strengthening ties between Azerbaijan and key economic, political and social structures across Europe. The promotion of Azerbaijan as a modern, secular, Western-facing country with tremendous economic opportunities and a strong cultural heritage. Creating a community spirit amongst expatriate Azerbaijanis in Europe. Increasing awareness of the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the plight of the 875,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
TEAS is always bringing the latest news, views and interviews on all aspects of Azerbaijan, and is launching a biweekly free e-newsletter. To find out more, please sign up at www.teas.eu.
Outreach and Engagement
The TEAS Facebook page is your chance to learn about the latest TEAS news, events, campaigns and other items of interest to the Azerbaijani community. Please ‘like’ the page at http://bit.ly/TEASFB
TEAS offers a range of corporate and individual membership packages, providing such benefits as advertising, networking, travel discounts and assistance with visas. To find out more, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Politics and News Tilmann Grawe, in the majestic Petit Palais in Paris, awaits the auction of Ulduz Buta, his doll
Rovnag Abdullayev spoke of the need for swift TANAP construction
A z e r b a i j a n - i n s p i r e d SOCAR promotes doll raises €1800 for TANAP in the House UNICEF of Lords Tilmann Grawe is one of the foremost Parisbased fashion designers of the past 20 years. His creations have graced, amongst others, Lady Gaga, Aishwarya Rai and Lara Fabian. Tilmann has become renowned for readyto-wear garments that enhance femininity, combining classicism and new technologies, and they incorporate such unusual materials as lizard skin and ostrich feathers. He has now collaborated on a unique charity project, commissioned by TEAS France, raising €1800 (£1447) for UNICEF. Over the past five years, Tilmann has applied his creativity to the UNICEF France Les Frimousses de Créateurs charity challenge, which is now in its tenth year. The concept is simple – some of the world’s greatest fashion designers and houses, including Giorgio Armani, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Gucci – decorate a doll in a unique manner. This doll can either be specially made for the designer, or a standard doll supplied by UNICEF. The dolls are then auctioned at the Petit Palais in Paris to raise money for a children’s vaccination programme in Darfur, Sudan. Tilmann’s Azerbaijan-themed doll, named Ulduz Buta, was sold to an unknown bidder.
Baku to stage first Euro Olympics
The first European Olympics will take place in Baku in 2015, following a vote from the 49 members of the European Olympic Committee (EOC) in Rome. An EOC spokesman said: “The National Olympic Committee (NOC) has received assurance that the event will not cost them a penny, but instead bring financial gains.” The competition, similar to the Asian or Pan-American Games, will take place every four years and feature around 15 sports. Backed heavily by Patrick Hickey, President, EOC, the European Olympics were first suggested in 2010. It was thought that Russia and Turkey would be candidates in the race to host the competition, but it has since emerged that Baku was the only city to make a bid. The EOC said: “The exact dates have not yet been fixed, but the Games will presumably take place in late spring or early summer.” www.teas.eu
During a meeting at the House of Lords, Rovnag Abdullayev, Director, State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) has spoken of the need to move ahead with the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), following the gaining of Azerbaijani parliamentary approval. Abdullayev said that ratification of the project opens the door for more investments in energy and other sectors by UK companies.
In his address to John Hayes, UK Secretaryof-State for Energy and Climate Change, and other government officials, Abdullayev called for the deepening of ties between the countries as TANAP – scheduled for completion in 2018 – emerges as a key route for future European gas supplies. Abdullayev reiterated that Azerbaijan ranks amongst the predominant oil- and gasproducing countries in the world, playing a vital future role in guaranteeing European energy security. TANAP will carry natural gas from the BP-controlled Shah Deniz field, and is designed to deliver up to 16bn m 3 (bcm) of natural gas to European consumers each year. Following Abdullayev’s speech at the House of Lords, he gave a wide-ranging interview to The Wall Street Journal, during which he stated that SOCAR does not regard the Russian-backed South Stream pipeline to Europe as representing competition for TANAP. He said: “We see South Stream and TANAP as complementary, and not as competition.” He noted that continually rising demand for gas from Turkey, Europe and elsewhere will make it possible for both projects to survive.
by Armenia in relation to pipelines on Azerbaijani territory represent a threat to Euroatlantic security. The statement was made at an international conference on the role of NATO in maintaining the security of energy infrastructure in the Caspian Sea. Panahov made reference to a recent comment by Armenian Major-General Arkady TerTadevosian that the energy infrastructure of Azerbaijan would be targeted if hostilities between the two countries resumed. He said: “Common interests envisage common responsibility. Based on our common interests, we hope that a joint mechanism on security provision, aimed at the protection of Azerbaijani energy facilities, will be developed soon.”
Spanish Embassy scheduled to open in Azerbaijan An Azerbaijani delegation, headed by Ali Hasanov, Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Committee on Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), has travelled to Madrid.
During the visit, Hasanov met Juan José Lucas Giménez, Vice-President, Spanish Senate. Speaking of the importance of strengthening relations, Hasanov touched upon energy sector co-operation, noting that SOCAR could potentially open offices and subsidiaries in Spain. He explained that many European expatriates now live and work in Azerbaijan, and stated that his country welcomed Spanish investment. Hasanov said that the opening of a Spanish Embassy would enhance mutually beneficial co-operation.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Azerbaijani GDP growth for 2013 predicted at 5.3 per cent
Ziyad Samadzade, Chairman, Economic Policy Committee, Azerbaijani Parliament (Milli Majlis), has stated: “The GDP growth rate for 2013 is projected at 5.3 per cent. The GDP for 2013 has been predicted at $71bn (£44bn), equating to an increase of $29bn (£18bn) on the 2009 figure. Around 55 per cent of this growth is attributable
NATO called to react to Armenian pipeline threat
Huseyn Panahov, Executive Director, International School of NATO in Azerbaijan (NISA) has commented that NATO should acknowledge that the threats voiced
to development of the non-oil sector.” He recalled that the average annual GDP growth in the country was 18.1 per cent from 2000–08, amounting to the highest index in the CIS and ranking amongst the best in the world. Azerbaijan ranked twelfth in the CIS in terms of GDP per capita in 1999, although it rose to sixth position by 2011.
Politics and News
(Photo: Crown Copyright)
Štefan Füle spoke of the need to develop EU– Azerbaijani relations within the framework of the EU Eastern Partnership
EU–Azerbaijani links to further develop
Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, met Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister, in Baku. During the meeting, both sides confirmed their wish to further strengthen relations. Commissioner Füle said: “We have seen an intensification of our relations and are making progress in the negotiations regarding visa facilitation and readmission. Our strategic partnership on energy is developing, and we welcome the recent ratification of the two agreements regarding the construction and operation of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), which will form an essential part of the Southern Corridor. “At the same time, there is still a great potential to further develop our ties, through Azerbaijan’s active involvement in the EU Eastern Partnership. The ongoing negotiations on a new Association Agreement are the most visible expression of our common intention to bring the relationship to a higher level.” Commissioner Füle also discussed the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, reiterating that the EU’s position is to fully support the OSCE Minsk Group’s efforts to work further with both sides to ensure the clear acceptance of the Madrid Principles as a basis for peace.
Conflict resolution will be Obama Administration priority
Speaking at the Azerbaijan America Alliance Gala Dinner in Washington D.C., Eric Rubin, US Deputy Assistant Secretary-of-State for European and Eurasian Affairs, stated that the US would continue to support the development of partnership with Azerbaijan. Rubin reiterated that a high level of cooperation exists between the two countries. He recalled: “This relationship has developed over the past 20 years. We will work to strengthen our partnership during the next four years, and it can be expected that the level of trade and investment between the two countries will continue to increase. Great achievements have been made, particularly in the energy sector. The two countries, as UN members, are working together in Afghanistan. All this serves to create a solid basis for the development of relations. “With regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which has continued for more than 20 years, resolution is amongst our main priorities, and we will do everything that is possible to assist with achieving this objective. We have shared values, and a desire to share is the basis of our relations.” The Gala Dinner was attended by around 700 people, including current and former Members of the US Congress and representatives from diplomatic missions in Washington D.C. The event was held with the support of Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US.
appropriate engagement of the international community through the OSCE Minsk Group. “In terms of German-Azerbaijani relations, I see a vast potential in extending the current relationship between both countries. German companies are technologically advanced, and will support further growth of the strong Azerbaijani economy. This should result in a sustainable energy partnership, and ensure that other sectors, e.g. healthcare, are also developed. I am in dialogue with many German companies, and encourage these to enter into increased commitment with Azerbaijan. By co-operating with the very active Azerbaijani diaspora and relevant organisations, we will be able to play an active role in the impressive development of Azerbaijan.”
EPEG fibre-optic cable line constructed
Construction of the Europe–Persia Express Gateway fibre-optic cable (EPEG) is now complete, and the decision to undertake testing of the system was made during a meeting of the EPEG Consortium in Iran. The members of the EPEG Consortium are the Iranian Telecommunications Infrastructure Company (TIC), Omani Omantel, Russian Rostelecom and International Cable & Wireless (C&W). The EPEG cable route, connecting Oman and Frankfurt, traverses Azerbaijan, Poland, and Ukraine. The launch of EPEG has been repeatedly postponed because the maritime segment, to be laid between Iran and Oman, was incomplete. The 6000km link will reach speeds of around 3.2 terabytes per second (TB/s), with the preliminary project cost being $200m (£124.7m). The Azerbaijani segment of EPEG is currently undergoing testing.
German MP Wellmann Azerbaijan plans to pledges Bundestag EU welcomes TANAP establish ICT university support Plans to launch Azerbaijan’s first university Karl-Georg Wellmann MP, member of the dedicated to information and communications Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the ratification by Azerbaijani technology (ICT) have been outlined. The main party in the Bundestag, has made decision was taken during a meeting attended the following statement: “The German Parliament by Rifat Sarijaoglu, Chairman, Board of Directors, Bilgi University Istanbul; Miguel Carmelo, Director-General of the Laureate International University, Madrid; and Cengiz Guldamlasi, Board Director, CENAY Group, amongst others. Sarijaoglu explained: “We are interested in the training of specialists in the ICT sphere. Nearly 1,000 students in our university are studying online, and the university employs numerous academics specialising in the ICT sector, who teach in technoparks.” Iltimas Mammadov, Azerbaijani Deputy ICT Minister, stated that Azerbaijan must be proactive in establishing such institutions. He commented: “Details of the technoparks, to be constructed in Sumgayit, are currently being prepared.” December 2012
Bundestag supports fulfillment of the resolutions concerning the NagornoKarabakh conflict, as outlined by the UN, European Commission (EC) and OSCE. We support all efforts towards achieving peaceful conflict resolution across the whole region. We endorse peace and stability in the entire South Caucasus. “The return of occupied Azerbaijani territory is the main condition for peaceful resolution of the conflict. We regard the expulsion of ethnic groups and the annexation of the occupied regions as being illegal. Future peace can only be attained if both sides decide against the use of violence and ensure the protection of civilians. We back an
The decision to ratify the construction of TANAP by the Azerbaijani Parliament (Milli Majlis) demonstrates the firm determination of the country to bring its gas to Europe, according to Günther Oettinger, EU Energy Commissioner, in a statement disseminated by the EU delegation in Baku.
Oettinger commented: “This pipeline will mean that gas is brought to Europe’s border, thereafter being freely circulated within the EU. It is a pleasure to welcome Azerbaijan and, more especially, SOCAR to the EU energy market.” According to preliminary estimates, the cost of the gas pipeline will be around $7bn (£4.3bn). Construction will take place from 2014–18. www.teas.eu
Culture and Sport
The exhibition, in the heart of London, excited a great deal of interest
The Flames and the Needle by Fuad Babayev (third place)
The view from Khinalig by Zamin Jafarov
More than 200 people were awakened to the glories of Azerbaijan during the opening
Bibi Heybat Mosque by Etibar Jafarov (second place) (from left) Henry Dallal, photographer and competition judge; Etibar Jafarov, winner: second place; Caroline Metcalfe, Picture Editor, Condé Nast Traveller and competition judge; and Fuad Babayev, winner: third place
‘Azerbaijan Through the Lens’ competition winners announced in London On 20 November, more than 200 people attended the opening of a stunning photography exhibition at La Galleria Pall Mall, located near Trafalgar Square in London. During the evening, the winners of the hotly-contested Azerbaijan Through the Lens photography exhibition, organised by TEAS, were announced. Sabina Rakcheyeva, Cultural Advisor to TEAS, revealed that the winner was Asim Talib for his photograph Old Men (see front cover), taken in 1985 in Kelbajar, Nagorno-Karabakh (currently occupied by Armenia). Mr Talib, a professional photographer since 1977, received £2000 of travel vouchers. In total, this exhibition showcased 100 photographs of contemporary Azerbaijani people, culture, landscapes www.teas.eu
and architecture. Over the course of several months, around 750 photos were received from amateur and professional photographers based in Azerbaijan and across the world. The exhibition succeeded in capturing the very essence of this fascinating country, which sits on the Caspian Sea. All of those who attended were entranced by the views of this country and the remarkable quality of the images. Ms Rakcheyeva said: “This competition was a new initiative for TEAS. Photographers had a free rein creatively to convey their impressions of Azerbaijan. TEAS and the judges were delighted by the range of the submissions, and we hope that Azerbaijan Through the Lens inspires those who have not previously visited the country to do so.” H.E. Fakhraddin Gurbanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to the UK, remarked: “This is a beautiful exhibition, organised by TEAS, which is introducing my country to London and across Europe. I hope that all attendees will remember these views
of Azerbaijan. These photographs are pieces of art, and it is an excellent idea to represent my country in this way.” One judge, the renowned photographer Henry Dallal, who has previously been commissioned to photograph H.M. The Queen, commented: “My fellow judge, Caroline Metcalfe, Picture Editor, Condé Nast Traveller, and I enjoyed exploring Azerbaijan through these beautiful pictures. Azerbaijan is a unique place, filled with history and culture. All the photos made me want to return to Azerbaijan to take more photographs showing the beauty of the country and the people.” The exhibition ran from 21 November–1 December. It will tour the major European cities in which TEAS has offices during the course of 2013.
To find out more on Azerbaijan Through the Lens and to see a slideshow of photos, go to www.teas.eu/azerbaijanthrough-the-lens
Culture and Sport Renara’s spiritual concert captivated all those in attendance (Photo: David Olsan)
Renara delights London audience
An audience of around 70 spent a mesmeric evening at Pushkin House, London in November listening to a performance by the remarkable Azerbaijani pianist Renara Akhoundova. Resident in Paris for over 20 years, Renara’s music is extremely spiritual and meditative, and all works are her own compositions. Entitled Gratitude, the evening featured three improvised pieces – a first for Renara, who normally only performs one improvisation. The first of these – Mum and Dad: An Improvisation – was replete with mugham themes. The Improvisation on the Theme of Jesus Christ was a minimalist piece, featuring eastern harmonies, and the Improvisation on the Theme of Gratitude took the eponymous opening composition and, following connection with the audience, overlaid this with joyous swathes of melody. The programme also included Baku or the Land of Fire Worshippers, a new composition by Renara that is to be included on her ninth CD. Prior to the encore, Renara said: “Bakuvians are a very special race. I was born in Baku, and its spirit led me to experience and live in other countries. I feel gratitude from the deepest level of my heart and intense gratitude for music.” To hear Renara’s music, and to order her latest CD, entitled Forgiveness, go to www. renaraakhoundova.com.
In November, the Northern Ireland national football team dropped some much needed points when they met an Azerbaijani team in blazing form during a World Cup Qualifier at Windsor Park, Belfast. After Rauf Aliyev scored a screamer in the fifth minute, Azerbaijan held the lead until the very end of the match, in injury time, when David Healy scored a last-gasp equaliser. During the opening attack, Javid Huseynov won the ball in midfield and laid off to Aliyev, who bent in a stunning shot from 30 yards before embarking on ecstatic celebrations. December 2012
beliefs and migrations of our own ancestors. These also indicate numerous unexplored links between Azerbaijan and Northern Europe.
Niall McGinn of Northern Ireland challenged new goalkeeper Salahat Aghayev with a first-time shot from the edge of the area, and Dean Shiels played an inviting ball across the face of the goal, but Azerbaijan survived unscathed on both occasions. After 26 minutes, Steven Davis chipped a fine ball over the back four to give Kyle Lafferty a one-on-one attempt, but a loose first touch allowed Salahat Aghayev to counteract this attempt. Northern Irish Roy Carroll faced a hairy moment when Vugar Nadirov’s deflected shot briefly appeared to be heading for the top corner, but the veteran goalkeeper managed to save this just in time. This was an excellent match, and provided the Azerbaijani team with a great opportunity to demonstrate its ability.
Following his visit to Gobustan National Park in Azerbaijan, and having been an avid reader of works by Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian ethnographer and explorer, since boyhood, David used a range of sources to trace the influence of this supernaturally inspired chieftain. He surveyed his semi-legendary position as the second mythological King of Sweden, as outlined in the Ynglinga Saga, to the more vibrant reality of Odin as a tribal shaman leading his people into Europe through Azerbaijan in order to escape increasing political persecution. David also discussed the significance of the Gobustan petroglyphs, as described by Heyerdahl, who visited Azerbaijan four times; his own conversations with the curator of Gobustan National Park; and Heyerdahl’s groundbreaking, yet highly contentious, research into a non-eurocentric version of human development.
Ancient links between Azerbaijan and Northern Europe discussed in London
Finally, David unveiled his own longstanding view that there were indirect exchanges between ancient Azerbaijanis and AngloSaxon tribes from the same period that occurred independently of the famed Silk All those in attendance were amazed by the concepts being expressed
In December, David Parry, the renowned author, dramaturge and Chair, Gruntler’s Theatre gave a presentation to an audience of over 50 people at Pushkin House, London, entitled In the Footsteps of Odin, sponsored by TEAS. During this, he examined the legends surrounding Odin, the leading Norse God, from a wide variety of mythic, historical, musical and literary perspectives. By exploring the sagas, folktales and legendary equivalents amongst the Celts and Hindus, together with re-examining material from recent reworkings of these ageless fables, he explained that a previously rich, yet almost unknown, history is emerging from study of this fascinating character. In fact, the story of Odin, combined with moral psychology, sheds considerable light on the early culture,
(Photos: Shaibal Rahman)
Azerbaijan draw with Northern Ireland at Windsor Park
Azerbaijan looked dangerous on the counterattack and only a Gareth McAuley block denied Aliyev the chance to try his luck a second time.
David Parry’s radical theory of the figure of Odin leading a migration was fascinating
Road, manifested through poetry, song, and art, which exhibited a similar worldview. The evening concluded with an inspired series of questions that indicated the need for further archaeological and literary research into such ancient migrations that reached Azerbaijan. www.teas.eu
Culture and Sport (from left) Babek Niftaliyev, mugham singer; Azer Rza-zade, opera singer; Aziza Vezir-Seyidova, Director, Azerbaijan Branch, Buta Arts Centre; Yalchin Adigezalov, Conductor; Sahib Pashazade, tar player and Toghrul Asadullayev, kamancha player, seen backstage at Cadogan Hall Tenor Azer Rza-zade amazed the audience with his lyricism, passion and remarkable breath control
Caspian Corridor Gala Concert attracts ecstatic applause
The day-long Caspian Corridor Conference at Lancaster House, London, culminated with an outstanding concert at Cadogan Hall, organised by the Buta Arts Centre. Performed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, under the baton of acclaimed Azerbaijani conductor Yalchin Adigezalov, this featured some of the most famous Azerbaijani classical music, in addition to pieces featuring Azerbaijani national instruments. As this year commemorates the 90th anniversary of the birth of Fikret Amirov, who developed ‘symphonic mugham’, the concert began with his evocative Azerbaijan Capriccio, which contained Eastern harmonies and a strident piece for the brass section. The programme contained his Song of the Blind Arab, featuring the mugham singer Babek Niftaliyev, whose soft voice performed the work in a declamatory manner. It also included Balash’s Aria from Amirov’s opera Sevil, sung by the lyric tenor Azer Rza-zade. Soltan Hajibeyov’s tone poem Caravan depicted a camel train as it comes closer to watering-hole in the desert and recedes into the distance. Naturally, the works of Kara Karayev, who died 30 years ago, were featured heavily. The Adagio, Waltz, and The Most Beautiful of the Beauties from the Seven Beauties – Ballet Suite were included, all of which were serene, and incorporated lilting melodies. One of the highlights was the outstanding second movement from the Concerto for Kamancha by Haji Hanmamedov, during which the soloist was Toghrul Asadullayev, setting the delicate sound of this national instrument, a spike fiddle, against an evocative orchestral background. Garanfil, written by the conductor’s father, www.teas.eu
Vasif Adigezalov, featured the tar, played by Sahib Pashazade. This provided great scope for improvisation, combined with a spartan orchestral accompaniment. Eventually, Babek Niftaliyev, Sahib Pashazade and Toghrul Asadullayev collaborated for a piece of joyous mugham, which included an exciting pizzicato section on the kamancha. The event ended with Vasif Adigezalov’s Garabag Shikestesi Oratorio, an uplifting combination of rousing themes from the Armenian-occupied region of NagornoKarabakh, featuring the mugham singer and instrumentalists against a rich orchestration. For more details of the Buta Arts Centre, go to www.buta.ru.
Culture and Tourism, together with actors and cultural figures. The six-minute film was introduced by Mushfig Hatamov, Head, Azerbaycanfilm Studio. The story is taken derived from an Azerbaijani folk tale and features highquality animation, music and effects. The young animators Rashad Efendiyev and Yusif Gabilov of the Uch Dost (Three Friends) production company made the film, following a commission by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The scriptwriter was Yusif Sheykhov, and the music was by Chingiz Mustafayev, a young composer and singer.
NEWS IN BRIEF Azerbaijani tar included in UNESCO list The UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage took place took place in Paris during early December. According to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Azerbaijani Craftsmanship and Performance Art of the Tar
Calling all artists – exhibit in Gabala Artists from around the world are being invited to submit their works for exhibition at the Gabala International Art Exhibition, scheduled to take place in March–April 2013 at the Qafqaz Riverside Hotel, Gabala, Azerbaijan. The theme of this year’s exhibition will be Melody of Portraits, focusing on paintings representing any type of musical instruments, musicians, or emotional responses to music.
was admitted into the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In previous years, Azerbaijani mugham, ashiq music, the Novruz holiday and Azerbaijani carpets have been included in this list. During the meeting, Committee members voted that the eighth session of the UNESCO Committee should be held in Baku in December 2013. To see a performance by tar virtuoso Ramiz Guliyev, go to http://bit.ly/tarconcert.
Critical acclaim for one of Azerbaijan’s finest singers The new CD by mugham singer Nazaket
The exhibition is organised by the AzerbaijanKorean Cultural Exchange Association (SEBA) (www.seba.az). If selected, SEBA will pay for the transportation of artworks from the country of origin to the exhibition, all of which will be included in the catalogue. Paintings must be received by 31 January 2013, with a maximum of two works being supplied by each artist. Now in its third year, the 2011 exhibition featured 116 artists from 18 countries. For submission information, e-mail: email@example.com
Teymurova, on the Italian Felmay label, simply
leading world music magazine. Editor Simon Broughton commented: “Nazaket Teymurova is clearly one of Azerbaijan’s best mugham singers.
voice that isn’t too showy or diva-like. “The opening to the lengthy main piece is beautiful, with short string phrases answered by a deep reedy balaban. Then there’s a call to action on the plucked tar that cues in
First Azerbaijani 3D animation film released
Jirtdan and Tepegoz, Azerbaijan’s first three-dimensional animated film, has been released in Azerbaijani cinemas. The film was premiered at the Nizami Cinema Centre before the members of the Cinematography Department of the Azerbaijani Ministry of
Teymurova’s vocal introduction, alternating with other instruments in the band – balaban, tar and kamancha. Over 30 minutes the song builds up to a declamatory finish at full pelt. It’s a relief after this vocal excess to have a great instrumental solo on the tar.” To purchase a copy and hear extracts, go to http://bit.ly/ nazaketmughamcd. The CD producer was renowned musicologist Dr Sanubar Baghirova, and the release was co-sponsored by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Personalities – Fuad Babayev Fuad Babayev
Capturing the real Baku – Fuad Babayev reflects on his work
Fuad Babayev, a Sales Representative, and previously an IT specialist, has been entranced by photography throughout his life. Having initially expressed himself with the simplest of film cameras, Fuad has capitalised on the latest developments in camera technology and social media, both to increase awareness of his own work and particularly of Baku, his home city. Fuad submitted several photographs to the recent Azerbaijan Through the Lens competition, organised by TEAS. He achieved third prize for The Flames and the Tower, being a monochrome representation of the Flame Towers, which dominate the contemporary Baku skyline, juxtaposed with the telecommunications tower (see p.5). TEAS met Fuad at La Galleria Pall Mall, where the three winning photographs and 97 other submissions were displayed for a two-week period.
When did your interest in photography begin? My fascination with photography is almost genetic. I was aware of my father undertaking photography from the time I was four years of age. When I was aged around 10, I asked him to buy my first piece of photographic equipment – a simple box camera – that was without any settings. However, this was the camera I used when I started out around 30 years ago. Photography remains an allconsuming hobby. I contemplated turning professional at one point, but the wide proliferation of high-quality, comparatively low-cost, photographic equipment has enabled many of my compatriots to become good photographers. To become a good professional is terribly difficult, because the competition is considerable. Also, when I set out, it was not my objective to earn money for taking pictures. First and foremost, I want to share my view of the world, and this is the most important aspect of photography for me. It is possible that I may become professional on some level one day, but this is not currently the case. Have you only taken photographs in Azerbaijan? Of course, I started out in Azerbaijan, but the camera was always with me once I started to travel. I was initially like a tourist, just photographing landmarks, but I didn’t want to solely capture memories of the places I had visited, instead aiming to show the beauty of these locations. I have extensively photographed Moscow, and took around 1000 pictures during my first visit to London in 2010. I then analysed what I did wrong, and
spent time correcting my mistakes during my three subsequent visits to the city. During my current visit, I plan to retake five or 10 pictures with a better camera and lens, which should make them worth sharing. I mostly used Soviet Zenit cameras for film photography, but once the digital period began, I immediately purchased a Nikon, and have used this camera brand ever since. Have you taken photographs in the Azerbaijani regions? I have done so, but infrequently. When I am at home in Baku, I have little time to go outside the capital. This city is my inspiration, particularly the people, as I like to photograph people on the streets, taking pictures that tell stories. These are candid vignettes, and my objective is to avoid attracting attention whilst taking the images. When people are aware of the camera, they may begin to act differently – some people dislike being photographed, whereas others start to pose. Do you select your subjects in an attempt to destroy misconceptions regarding Azerbaijan and Baku, in particular? In fact, I am trying to show Baku as it is, representing its beauty. I am capturing elements of people’s everyday lives, and aim to show how life is on the streets. This is the best way to destroy such misconceptions. Even if you are taking candid shots, to what extent do you set up each photograph? In fact, I try to avoid actually setting up the shots at all – sometimes the action that I capture happens in a mere split-second. If you walk and look around, the more you see. The Diary
Personalities – Fuad Babayev
Three Under Umbrella
What inspired you to take the award-winning photograph of The Flames and the Needle? The Flame Towers have been photographed many times, but I was looking for a new vantage point, and found this by accident. Following some rain, I was walking back to my car, carrying the camera. Suddenly I saw this picture, which was not eventually manipulated at all, other than being converted to black and white. The sky was dark, and the sun came out from the clouds and lit the towers for just one moment. The most challenging aspect was that the best vantage point for photographing the scene was from inside a rubbish bin. Without further ado, I jumped inside this bin and took the picture. Only one frame captured this moment, as the sun soon hid behind a cloud. After I posted this photo on the internet, I received several phone calls. Other
photographers said that they had seen the position from where I took this shot, but they didn’t risk going inside this rubbish. This is the only photo of the Flame Towers taken from that perspective. Two of your other photos were also selected for inclusion in the Azerbaijan Through the Lens exhibition – Independence Day and Sunrise Boulevard. What were you trying to capture in those images? The human eye can see much beauty, but it is impossible for the digital or film camera to capture all of this. I often hear of photographers attempting to capture the beautiful sunrise or sunset. They come home, upload the pictures to the computer, and suddenly realise that the photograph does not adequately represent what they saw. However, due to recent developments in technology, tools are now
available that enable us to recover the colours and light, capturing this beauty. My objective is always to show the beauty of the world as I see it. In my blog, I once wrote: “Things don’t have to be extraordinary to be beautiful.” The world around us is so beautiful, yet we often have no time to see it. We are also living in an age where, if viewers look at a photo for longer than three seconds, this represents a great success for the photographer. Many of your photos are in black and white. Why is this? In fact, many images start to shine when they are converted to black and white, particularly if the contrast is to be emphasised. For example, if you look at the colour version of The Flames and the Needle, it appears to be absolutely ordinary. The conversion to black and white makes it graphical. Two Conversations
Personalities – Fuad Babayev
How are you using social media to promote your photography and enhance awareness of Baku? Around five years ago, I started to upload my photographs to Flickr, but I soon realised that the quality of images on Flickr is often extremely mediocre. Also, only a limited viewer reaction is possible, which lacks critical insight. Subsequently, Facebook came to the stage, which was an improvement on Flickr, although the tools for displaying photos are inadequate. Around 18 months ago, Google + was born, and I was invited via an American photographer friend to trial this network, being one of the first thousand users to do so. In fact, Google + has amazing tools for photographers, and it is even possible to see the data inside the photograph, including the settings of the camera. The quality of picture reproduction is outstanding. I started to use Google + very actively, and I now have more than 10,000 followers, which is the largest number of followers of any user in Azerbaijan. Thanks to the network, my pictures are now seen across the world, although my audience is predominately in the US or the UK. Some photographer ‘friends’ have enquired as to how they can visit Azerbaijan to take pictures. Although my work is well-known online, this is the first time that I have exhibited in a traditional competition and exhibition. What do you think of the Azerbaijan Through the Lens exhibition? It’s absolutely fantastic, and was the
source of surprise to me. I was amazed to see over 200 people at the opening and delighted by the reaction to the pictures. All the photographs featured in the exhibition are beautiful, and many are superior to my own. I particularly like the landscapes, such as the Greater Caucasus Mountains, by Mirnaib Hasanoglu and The View from Khinalig by Zamin Jafarov. I admire some of the monochrome photographs, and even some of the staged pictures. Such preparation is difficult, and it can be challenging to find a model that is willing to dress accordingly and is able to give the shot a natural appearance.
In recent times, photography has become popular in Azerbaijan, particularly since the advent of the digital age, as the hobby is less expensive than was previously the case. Azerbaijan is now home to many talented photographers who are taking images that are worthy of exhibition and wider appreciation.
To see Fuad’s Google + account, go to http://bit.ly/fuadgoogleplus
Man of Faith
Personalities – Peter Bateman Ambassador Bateman visited the TEAS office during his recent trip to London
Ambassador Peter Bateman gives the UK perspective on Azerbaijan
H.E. Peter Bateman, current UK Ambassador to Azerbaijan, joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1984. He initially spent time on the East African desk, and also served in Berlin and Japan. His first Ambassadorial appointment was as UK Ambassador to Bolivia in 2005, and following this was appointed as UK Ambassador to Luxembourg. TEAS met Ambassador Bateman when he visited its London headquarters: Following your appointment in January 2011, you took up your position in October 2011. How would you describe your experiences so far? It’s been fascinating, and my wife and I are really enjoying the experience. We went to Azerbaijan in a spirit of adventure, as neither of us knew the country or had much experience of former Soviet countries. Both of us were trying to find a posting that would take us beyond our normal comfort zone, and I am pleased to say that the tradition of hospitality particularly impressed us. The welcome we received in Azerbaijan from the Azerbaijani people made us immediately feel at home, and the posting is proving to be both enjoyable and exciting. How would you characterise the current trading relationship between the UK and Azerbaijan? There are excellent economic relations between our countries. First and foremost is the hydrocarbon sector, to which the majority of foreign direct investment (FDI) has been directed, with over 50 per cent of all FDI coming from BP and associated companies. We’re proud to have developed such a strong economic partnership with the country. This has created so much of the wealth that Azerbaijan has enjoyed over the past seven years or so. In addition, there is a British presence in construction, particularly with regard to
construction consultancy services. Many renowned British architects and project management consultancies are active in the country, such as Foster’s, AMEC and Mace. We’re very pleased that UK companies are helping to shape the visible face of Baku. There has also been considerable development in retail over approximately the last seven years, and many UK stores are now present, including household names such as Debenhams and Mothercare. Other household names should also soon be opening their doors. The UK is also helping Azerbaijan achieve its long-term objectives of diversifying the economy and achieving further development outside of the hydrocarbon sector to ensure economic sustainability in the longer term. Education will play a key role in this, and I am glad that several UK universities, such as Nottingham Trent and Heriot-Watt, already have a presence in the country. Thousands of young, talented Azerbaijanis are, of course, currently studying at British universities. Is the UK assisting with development of the Azerbaijani information technology (IT) industry? The Azerbaijani IT industry has only begun to take off during the past few years, whereas the UK industry is highly-developed. The Azerbaijani government has already announced its intention to develop an electronic platform from which to deliver services. This is clearly one of the paths towards continuing economic success and the achievement of diversification, and I expect British companies to play their role. How do you predict bilateral trading relations developing during your tenure? I anticipate that the commercial relationship will go from strength to strength, resulting in even greater bilateral trade and investment. However, I am hoping this will be a two-way street. For example, we hope to interest the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) to invest in UK infrastructure, as part of their policy of diversification. I am a great believer in commerce and trade as a tool for developing links and understanding between peoples.
How important do you consider the development of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) to be for Azerbaijan, Turkey and EU? TANAP is important, as a major route for gas from Azerbaijan, and possibly Central Asia, to where it is needed in South East Europe. It is very important that the Southern Corridor is implemented, and TANAP is clearly an important part of a wider project. At some point, a pipeline from Western Turkey to somewhere in South-Eastern Europe will be constructed, although the selection between the Trans-Adriatic and Nabucco West pipelines still needs to be decided. The UK will not directly benefit from the Southern Corridor, but we acknowledge the political importance of diversifying the European gas supply away from Russia. Its construction will also have a positive impact on the economies of South-Eastern Europe. What will be the effect of Shah Deniz 2 coming on-stream in 2017–18? The gas resources from Shah Deniz 2 will make the Southern Corridor a reality, which is an important policy goal for the EU. This will also be an important symbolic step forward for Azerbaijan, as the gas supplier; for European countries as consumers; and for Turkey as a transit and consumer country. It is vitally important, therefore, that the Southern Corridor delivers what it promises. What is the UK government doing to raise awareness of the ongoing ArmenianAzerbaijani conflict over NagornoKarabakh on an international level and to achieve peaceful resolution? The UK considers that the status quo regarding Nagorno-Karabakh is unacceptable and that a military solution will not provide the basis for a long-term settlement of the issue. However, the UK is not a member or Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group. Our position is therefore to support the Co-Chairs, who have been tasked with achieving a negotiated peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The UK supports the work of the OSCE Minsk Group, and will do whatever it can to ensure the effectiveness of any negotiated settlement. Do you believe that the EU can play an increased role in achieving a negotiated peace to the conflict? The OSCE Minsk Group will lead on the peace strategy, but the EU, including the UK, will be happy to support any solution. I am certain that the EU will back the work of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, ensuring that any solution is effective in the long-term.
The UK Embassy in Azerbaijan website may be viewed at www.ukinazerbaijan. fco.gov.uk.
Nagorno-Karabakh Eamon Gilmore urged the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides to take “decisive steps” towards achieving peace
OSCE Chair calls for swift NagornoKarabakh conflict resolution
During a meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Dublin, Eamon Gilmore, OSCE Chairperson, Irish Deputy Prime Minister, and Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, commented that the deterioration of the situation on the ‘contact line’ demonstrated the need for rapid resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is so harmful to the peoples of the South Caucasus. He said: “I want to express my gratitude to Andrzej Kasprzyk, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson, for his active work in the region. I urge all to participate in constructive co-operation and demonstrate the relevance of our organisation by 2015, in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Declaration.” At the same meeting, Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister, Russian Federation; Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Secretary-ofState; and Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister Delegate for European Affairs of France, said: “We, the Heads of Delegation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries, call upon the parties to the NagornoKarabakh conflict to demonstrate the political will needed to reach a peaceful settlement. As our Presidents stated at Los Cabos on 18 June, the parties should be guided by the Helsinki Principles, particularly those relating to the non-use of force or the threat of force, territorial integrity, equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and the elements outlined in our countries’ statements at L’Aquila in 2009 and Muskoka in 2010. Recalling the statement of our Presidents at Deauville in 2011, we again urge the parties to take decisive steps to reach a peaceful settlement. “We regret that the expectations of more rapid progress in the peace process, which were raised by the Joint Statement of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan with the President of
the Russian Federation at Sochi on 23 January, were not met. Instead, the parties have too often sought one-sided advantage in the negotiation process, rather than seeking to find agreement, based upon mutual understanding. “We call upon the parties to demonstrate a greater sense of urgency in the peace process and to work with the Co-Chairs to give full and careful consideration to ideas presented by the Co-Chairs during their trip to the region in November. We welcome the readiness of the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia to meet jointly with the Co-Chairs early in 2013 to continue these discussions. Our countries continue to stand ready to do whatever we can to assist the parties, but the responsibility for putting an end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains with them.”
Armenian Oscar entry enrages Azerbaijan
The Armenian entry for the 2013 Best Foreign Film Oscar has created a storm of controversy. Directed by Natalia Belyauskene, and entitled If Only Everyone, the film concerns an Armenian man who helps a Russo–Armenian woman to visit the grave of her father, who was killed in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, commemorating his life by planting a tree. During the film, the protagonists cross the ‘contact line’ and befriend a local shepherd, an Azerbaijani, who asks them to plant a tree on his son’s grave when they return to the Armenian side.
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The conference was attended by Rasim Musabayov, Azerbaijani MP; Farhad Mammadov, Director, Azerbaijani Centre for Strategic Studies; and Avaz Hasanov, Director, Azerbaijani Humanitarian Studies Society. During the conference, German and Austrian experts delivered their reports on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Following this, the Azerbaijani delegation presented their perspective. The conference featured a discussion panel involving the Azerbaijani and German MPs; Christina Viehl, Chief, South Caucasus and Central Asia Department, German Foreign Ministry; Per Christopher Stanchina, Former German Ambassador to Azerbaijan, and Alexei Vlasov, Deputy Dean, History Faculty, Moscow State University, together with Dr Babayev.
NEWS IN BRIEF Landmines kill one soldier and maim two more Teymur
Azerbaijani Defence Ministry, has revealed that Pasha Nemat Mursalov, a 19-year-old Azerbaijani soldier, lost his life after being injured in a landmine explosion near the ‘contact line’ in the Khojavand region in November. Camil Mammadov and Chingizkhan Jarassov, two soldiers, also become landmine victims at the ‘contact line’ in the Goranboy region. Abdullayev stated that both lost limbs in the explosion.
Landmine injures Azerbaijani Officer According to the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry, a landmine explosion on the ‘contact line’ in
The Azerbaijani author, Elchin Huseynbayli, insists that the idea for the film was stolen from his 2010 story called Dazzled by the Sun, but twisted to make the Azerbaijanis appear as the aggressors. The Azerbaijani story was published in the June 2010 edition of Friendship of Peoples. Speaking to the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, the co-writer of If Only Everyone, Mikhael Poghosyan, claimed that the film sought to encourage harmony and peace between different peoples.
the Agdam region has severely injured Captain Parviz Ismailov. The incident occurred as Andrzej Kasprzyk, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson, was scheduled to monitor the border, in order to familiarise himself with the situation. The western part of Agdam came under Armenian occupation in 1993, and has remained unoccupied ever since. It continues to be used as a buffer zone by Armenian forces.
Azerbaijani cowherder returned from captivity On 30 November, the Armenian military returned a 41-year-old cowherder, Telman Aliyev, to
Nagorno-Karabakh debated in Germany A conference entitled Achieving Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh: The Role of Justice in Resolving the Conflict has taken place in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. This was supported by the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), and jointly organised by Dr Azer Babayev and the
Azerbaijan. Suffering with speech and hearing difficulties, Telman had followed his herd onto Armenian territory and was promptly captured.
the Red Cross for help. Following his return, Azerbaijan made an official complaint that Armenia had violated international standards for prisoner exchange by bringing an armed force to the handover site. The fate and the whereabouts of Aliyev’s herd remain unknown.
Nagorno-Karabakh Philippe Lefort acknowledged the ongoing risk of reigniting the NagornoKarabakh conflict
Nagorno-Karabakh and have far-reaching implications, potentially bringing Russia, Iran and Turkey into conflict. The ongoing skirmishes were also highlighted, and the question was posed as to whether the sides could ever live together after many years of tension. To view the programme, go to http://bit.ly/NKtimebomb.
The conference will outline the continuing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and will focus on the impact of the ongoing occupation of Azerbaijani territory, including the demolition and destruction of historical and cultural documents. Representatives from the Caucasus Research Centre, Ahi Evran University, will also be in attendance, together with numerous diplomats.
PACE Co-Rapporteurs London-based CIC to submit report M a m m a d y a r o v Pedro Agramunt and Joseph Debono Grech, the Co-Rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee publishes paper on specifies Azerbaijani on Azerbaijan, Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe (PACE), are to submit a Nagorno-Karabakh requirements for peace final report on their recent visits to Azerbaijan, The Caspian Information Centre (CIC) has Philippe Lefort, European Union (EU) Special Representative for the South Caucasus, met Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, in Baku. During the meeting, they spoke of the energy projects of regional significance and the importance of Azerbaijan for the EU. Mammadyarov reiterated that Armenian acceptance of the proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group would include the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement. He also stated that the reopening of the airport in Nagorno-Karabakh, located in Khojaly, would have a detrimental impact on the peace process. Lefort stressed the importance of continuing contact between the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities to ensure peace. During an address to the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, he said: “The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not a ‘frozen’ conflict – it is a conflict with a frozen solution, because it has a risk of escalation. The EU supports the efforts of OSCE towards settling the conflict. The status quo is unacceptable. It is important to achieve progress in this issue. Maintenance of stability and security in the South Caucasus and development of the region is very important for the security of the EU.”
French TV airs NagornoKarabakh documentary
The French TV channel France 24 has broadcast a documentary on the NagornoKarabakh conflict, entitled Nagorno-Karabakh – The Time Bomb on Europe’s Doorstep, introduced by Willy Bracciano, Armen Georgian and Markus Meyer. During the programme, Damien Helly, Fellow of the Paris-based EU Institute for Security Studies, initially explained the differences between the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and other regional issues. Reports from both sides were included, and the programme noted that the self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh remains unrecognised by all countries and international organisations. It repeatedly compared the conflict to a powder keg, stressing that its ignition would endanger
together with a draft resolution. If these are adopted, the documents will be discussed at the PACE Winter Session, to be held in January 2013. During their visit, they met Azerbaijani President Aliyev; Ogtay Asadov, Speaker, Milli Majlis (Azerbaijani Parliament); Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, leaders of political parties, and representatives of civil society, amongst others.
Azerbaijan continues to seek justice for Khojaly
During his speech at the General Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties in Baku, Asim Mollazade MP explained: “Azerbaijan does not call for revenge – it does not need revenge – it needs only justice for the Khojaly Massacre. The Azerbaijani city of Khojaly was completely destroyed, and many children, women and elderly people were cruelly killed and burned. If the military criminals, who committed these crimes, are not brought to trial in an international court, such events will be repeated. We need assistance from politicians around the world to stop such massacres, and must unite our efforts to create a system of justice in the world. We unite Europe and Asia, and must build peace, security and prosperity in our part of the world.” The Khojaly Massacre, perpetrated by Armenian forces, claimed 613 civilian victims during the night of 25–26 February 1992.
Benelux Azerbaijanis’ Congress focuses on Nagorno-Karabakh
The Amsterdam-based Benelux Azerbaijanis’ Congress (BAC) will collaborate with the Union of European Turkish Democrats, Turkey Research Centre, EcoEurAsia, and the Cooperation Centre of Azerbaijanis and other Turkic Speaking Peoples to host a conference entitled the Armenian-Azerbaijani NagornoKarabakh Conflict and Problems in the South Caucasus.
published its Occasional Paper No. 22: Nagorno-Karabakh: An Unresolved Conflict Whose War Games Threaten Western Energy Security. This raises concerns that the unstable situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions has the potential to seriously threaten western energy needs. As the title of this paper suggests, the stand-off between Azerbaijan and Armenia appears to be escalating, with the announcement by Armenian officials that they, if threatened, would launch strategic attacks on Azerbaijani energy facilities. The paper explores the current situation, raises the very real prospect of possible war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and questions the lack of progress achieved by the OSCE Minsk Group. The paper is available for free download from http://bit.ly/cicnk.
NEWS FROM BRUSSELS
On 28 November, at the initiative of Kristiina Ojuland MEP, another meeting of the Friends of Azerbaijan Group took place in the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels. The purpose of this was to update members about Azerbaijan, and to welcome H.E. Fuad Iskanderov, the newly-appointed Azerbaijani Ambassador to the European Union (EU) and Belgium. In his speech, Ambassador Iskanderov highlighted the importance of relations between the EU and Azerbaijan, underlining the important role of MEPs in stimulating dialogue, particularly the members of the Group, which is a unique information platform on Azerbaijan within the EP. The members went on to discuss the Group’s objectives for 2013, including methods of increasing awareness of the country amongst the top decision-makers in the EP. This new meeting brought together some of the most distinguished MEPs and engendered an important exchange of views on relevant topics regarding the EUAzerbaijani partnership. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Business One of the many variants of Honker four wheel drive vehicle
Polish Honker to open Azerbaijani factory Polish automaker Honker has announced plans to open a factory in Azerbaijan. Zdzislaw Kinsner, Vice-President, Honker, speaking to Azerbaijani journalists, stated that preliminary talks with the Azerbaijani government had already taken place in Warsaw.
The company plans to construct the factory in the industrial technology park that is currently under construction in Sumgait. According to Kinsner, Honker representatives will present their proposals to the Azerbaijani side in the near future. Honker currently manufactures over 40,000 vehicles a year, including off-road vehicles (civilian and military), trucks, and ambulances. The company produces myriad variants of its vehicles for military and civilian applications, in addition to components for manufacturers around the world. Kinsner said that the company is currently planning to enter new markets, including Azerbaijan.
BP signs agreement with AzMecCo in London
BP signed an agreement with the Azerbaijan Methanol Company (AzMecCo) during the inaugural Caspian Corridor Conference at Lancaster House, London in November. Nasib Piriyev, Chief Executive, AzMecCo, told Energy Live News: “AzMecCo has committed its volumes of methanol to BP for several years. This demonstrates the extent of the collaboration between Azerbaijan and the UK, and between the Trans-Caucasus and Europe. For us, this is a very important milestone, enabling us to continue our growth as a well-structured, corporate company.” He added that the agreement would benefit both BP and Azerbaijan: “First of all, it will bring additional profits to our country. Secondly, BP will both expand its visibility and presence in the Azerbaijani market. We are the only private company to sign an agreement with BP. It’s a mutually interesting and mutually beneficial agreement.” The $360m (£224.6m) methanol plant, currently under construction, will be the only facility of its type in the South Caucasus and
Central Asia, and will be commissioned early next year.
TANAP to be completed by 2018
explained that AzerSpace-1 would be launched during February 2013, being followed by the country’s first earth observation satellite in 2014, and the second telecommunications satellite in 2016. A Satellite Management Centre will be opened at the end of the year.
Construction of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) will start in 2014 and be completed by 2018, said Khoshbakht Yusifzade, VicePresident, State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR), during a meeting at the Caspian-European Integration Business Club. According to Yusifzade, TANAP will run to the border of Bulgaria, passing through Azerbaijani, Georgian and Turkish territory. The main remaining issues relate to the construction of the pipeline’s Turkish segment. He explained that, in the future, the pipeline could potentially be extended from Bulgaria to Romania, and in the direction of Italy. TANAP will convey resources from either the Nabucco West or Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The planned initial capacity will be 16bn m3 (bcm) of gas per year.
ICT revenues to reach $9bn by 2020
Ali Abbasov, Azerbaijani Minister for Communications and Information Technologies (ICT), has predicted that annual ICT revenues will reach $8–9bn (£5–5.6m) by 2020, whereas revenues were $1.7bn (£1bn) in 2011. The statement was made during an international conference entitled Azerbaijan 2020: Look Into The Future. Abbasov explained that the target annual growth rate of the ICT sector is 20 per cent. He continued: “The results from the first 10 months of 2012 enable us to predict that 20 per cent growth rate in the ICT sector will be achieved this year. During the 2009–11 global crisis, the annual growth rate of the sector was 14–15 per cent.”
A CAD representation of AzerSpace-1, the launch of which will herald the start of the Azerbaijani space programme
AzerSpace-1 will be launched from the Kourou Cosmodrome, the Space Centre of French Guiana. The weight of the satellite is 3.3 tonnes, and the exploratory period of the satellite in orbit will last 15 years. The satellite will be launched at 46° Eastern longitude, being leased from the Malaysian company Measat Satellite Systems. The satellite will provide services to countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and North Africa. It will provide digital broadcasting, broadband, database transfer, and multiservice Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) facilities. Work on the construction of the Ariane-5 missile carrier has been carried out according to schedule.
NEWS IN BRIEF Caspian crossing under discussion Musa Penahov, Azerbaijani Deputy Transport Minister, has revealed that Azerbaijan is currently discussing possible designs for a Caspian crossing. He explained that initial engineering designs were already
Abbasov spoke of the major projects being implemented in Azerbaijan, including the construction of the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM), the Azerbaijani satellite programme, the implementation of broadband internet services across the country, and the building of the ‘e-government’ information platform.
Azerbaijan to launch three satellites within four years
RWE to consider selling Nabucco stake to OMV
Ali Abbasov, Azerbaijani ICT Minister, has revealed that AzerSpace-1, Azerbaijan’s first communications satellite, has been insured for $17m (£10.6m). He commented: “The satellite is technologically advanced and ready to be launched into geostationary orbit.” Abbasov
the present time, we are considering two projects – the boring of a tunnel under the sea, and the construction of a bridge. One of these options will be decided in due course.” Korean engineers have already suggested a concept for a bridge, with an estimated cost of $1bn (£623.6bn).
Citing industry sources, Focus has reported that German utility RWE is about to quit the Nabucco West consortium and could sell its 16.1 per cent stake in the scheme to OMV, another shareholder, by the end of the year. In May, RWE, the second-largest utility in Germany, said it was reviewing strategic requirements
Nabucco West project, designed to carry Caspian gas over almost 4,000km to Europe.
Bulgarian supports West
Speaking alongside Turkish President Abdullah Gül in Ankara, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev stated that his country favours construction of the Nabucco West pipeline as the continuation of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) project. He voiced his hope that European countries in the coming months will undertake important actions regarding the swift implementation of the project to deliver gas from the Caspian region to Europe. The alternative plan for continuation of TANAP is the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). President Plevneliev spoke of the importance of TANAP to Europe, stressing that Turkey will play a key role in ensuring European energy security. President Gül stated that the joint committees of the two countries would soon meet to discuss the technical aspects of the project. The proposed Nabucco West scheme envisages the construction of 1300km of pipeline (Bulgaria 412km, Romania 469km, Hungary 384km and Austria 47km) from the Turkish-Bulgarian border to Baumgarten in Austria. The Nabucco West consortium shareholders are Austrian OMV, Hungarian FGSZ, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish BOTAS and German RWE.
Coming closer to the WTO
The tenth round of multilateral talks regarding Azerbaijani membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) took place on 7 December, according to Mahmud MammadGuliyev, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister and Chief Negotiator. To date, Canada, the US, the EU and Norway have expressed willingness to engage in talks with Azerbaijan. WTO membership is important for the country, as it would receive agricultural subsidies of 10 per cent. On the other hand, WTO members have expressed a wish to clarify the level of liberalism and transparency in Azerbaijan’s pricing policy, taxation, and the mechanism for agricultural subsidies and licensing issues. Most importantly, they are interested in the changes that the Azerbaijani government will introduce regarding legislation on foreign trade. WTO accession has set the task for Azerbaijani economic legislation to become commensurate with WTO regulations. Given that the oil and gas trade is not regulated by the WTO, and the majority of Azerbaijani exports (91 per cent) account for oil, gas and petroleum products, any difficulties with exports are not expected.
With regard to imports, the removal of trade barriers will lead to an influx of low-cost, lowquality imported goods into the country, which will have an impact on the indigenous non-oil sector. Azerbaijan will subsequently require an adaptation period, during which protective mechanisms will be introduced. During this period, measures will be introduced to stimulate local entrepreneurship, improve product quality, and offer balanced concessions to trading partners regarding access to foreign goods, services and investments in the Azerbaijani market.
The implementation of the TAE project was agreed in 1999 between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. In December 1999, construction began on the Azerbaijani segment of TAE. In 2001, construction of the onshore section of the segment was completed, and communication channels between Baku and Tbilisi were transferred to a fibre-optic TAE highway.
Azerbaijan to begin gas exports to Ukraine from 2017
Akram Zeynalli, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Switzerland, has met the Co-Chairs of the Azerbaijani-Swiss Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation. Ambassador Eric Martin, Head, Bilateral Economic Relations Office of the Federal Department of Economics, Switzerland, stressed that his country is interested in further co-operation in the energy, agricultural, tourism and ICT sectors.
Einulla Madatli, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Ukraine, has revealed that Azerbaijan will begin delivering gas supplies to Ukraine in late 2017. According to Uryadovy Kuryer, the Ukrainian government newspaper, he commented: “We will deliver gas from Shah Deniz 2 around the end of 2017, as stipulated under a memorandum signed by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2011 in Davos. We will start with 2bn m3 (bcm) per year, gradually increasing deliveries to 5bcm.” Ambassador Madatli said that Azerbaijan would also supply gas to Ukraine for its liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, to be built near the port city of Odessa. Over the past two years, Ukraine has been trying to review the existing gas contracts with Russia, which it regards as onerous with an inflated price.
Switzerland enhances co-operation with Azerbaijan
During the meeting, he thanked the Azerbaijani side for creating favourable conditions for Swiss companies in Azerbaijan, particularly citing the activities of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (SOCAR) in his country. Ambassador Zeynalli expressed confidence regarding the further development of bilateral relations. The parties also agreed to organise joint business forums and reciprocal familiarisation visits.
Azerbaijani gas production to reach Azerbaijan elected 50bcm by 2024 Speaking at a meeting of the Caspianas President of TAE European Integration Business Club (CEIBC), Khoshbakht Yusifzadeh, Vice-President, C o m m u n i c a t i o n s SOCAR, stated that Azerbaijani gas production would reach 50bcm by 2014. He stated: “There is great potential to increase gas production Project The Azerbaijani ICT Ministry has reported that Azerbaijan has been elected as Chairman of the Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) Communications Project, during a meeting in Baku. According to the ICT Ministry, the project participants unanimously expressed support for Azerbaijan’s Presidency during the period 2013–15, taking over from Ukraine. The TAE fibre-optic highway will connect Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Iran, Russia and Ukraine. The Azerbaijani side stated that, during its presidency, the country would make the necessary efforts to further improve the effectiveness of TAE. Representatives from Ukrtelecom, the Ukrainian national operator, T-systems (a subsidiary of Deutsche Telecom); and FopNet of Georgia, attended the meeting. The construction of the Azerbaijani segment of the cable line has already been completed.
in Azerbaijan, due to the development of numerous gas condensate fields and recentlydiscovered resources that will significantly increase production volume in the country in the future.”
He cited the recently opened fields in Azerbaijan – Umid and Absheron – together with such promising structures as Babak, Shafaq-Asiman, Nakhchivan and others. Yusifzadeh explained that SOCAR is undertaking exploratory work to find new oil fields, in collaboration with foreign companies. Yusifzade noted that the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) block is the largest oil and gas field in Azerbaijan, and that this had produced 289m tonnes of oil, to date, 200m tonnes of which has been transported via the Baku-TbilisiCeyhan (BTC) pipeline since 2005.