Country Report Armenia November 1998 Main report

Political scene: Heydar Aliyev wins presid'l election in Azerbaijan

Heydar Aliyev's re-election as president of Azerbaijan on October 11th augurs well for improved relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It provides continuity in the negotiations on the Karabakh conflict and could mean greater co-operation between the two countries. Mr Aliyev's main presidential opponent, Nizami Suleymanov, head of the Independent Azerbaijan Party, had fought his election on the Karabakh ticket and had threatened to restart the war to regain lost territories. Although the presidents of Armenia and of Nagorny Karabakh did not congratulate Mr Aliyev on his re-election (the president of Karabakh offered the explanation that Mr Aliyev did not congratulate him when he was elected), Mr Kocharian stressed the importance of creating a positive atmosphere before resuming the negotiation process. For his part Mr Aliyev had previously made overtures by personally inviting Mr Kocharian, to the EU sponsored TRACECA conference and by welcoming the participation of Armenia at the conference.

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