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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 7,124 6,090 5,600 102
GNI per capita
 US $ 810 710 650 146
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Azerbaijan


Area (


Principal ethnic
Azeri 90%
Russian 2.5%
Armenian 2%
Dagestani 3.2%
other 2.3


Azeri Manat

Ilham Aliyev

Ilham Aliyev

Update No: 295- (26/07/05)

Dominant dynasty
Azerbaijan is the first, but surely not the last, post-Soviet dynasty. Presidency of this oil-rich former Soviet Caspian state of 8 million was passed from ailing strongman Gaidar Aliyev to his son Ilham in 2003 elections - widely regarded as outrageously rigged. Though oil revenues are pouring in, and may grow when the US-backed Baku-Ceyhan pipeline begins pumping Caspian crude later this year, poverty is widespread.
Thousands of oppositionists took to the streets of Baku in May, many sporting orange banners - symbols of Ukraine's democratic revolution - and portraits of President Bush, to demand that November's upcoming parliamentary polls be free and fair.

Azerbaijan to stay in EU focus until elections 
Azerbaijan will stay in the European Union's focus until the November parliamentary elections, the EU special envoy on South Caucasus Heikki Talvitie has said. 
He told a news conference on the results of his visit to Baku in early July that during the visit, the pre-election situation in the country, the EU New Neighbourhood Policy and the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno Karabakh were discussed. 
Talvitie has met with President Ilham Aliyev, officials and leaders of political parties. He said that Azeri officials have unequivocally stated that the make-up of elections commissions will not be changed. The 'only way out of this' is to conduct exit polls, said Talvitie. 
"We welcome ensuring the political parties' right to freedom of assembly. I also said in a meeting with the opposition that changes should be accepted. This will give a start to the authorities-opposition dialogue."

Petro-dollars funding big military build up in Azerbaijan: Aliyev 
Aliyev is resorting to the standard ploy of a beleaguered dictatorship, military adventure. It does not even have to go abroad to do so.
Azerbaijan is using revenue from record-high oil prices to fund a massive increase in military spending, President Aliyev said on June 25th, warning that the army would be prepared to recapture the ethnic-Armenian separatist region of Nagorno Karabakh, reports Agence France-Presse from Baku.
Azerbaijan will spend US$300m (248m Euros) on its armed forces in 2005, a 70 per cent increase over last year, the Azeri leader said at a ceremony in a military academy. 
"The adversary must know that the Azerbaijani army can mobilize at any moment and liberate the occupied territories," Aliyev said. "Spending on the country's defence force will grow continuously." 
This is of course a very dangerous game, with the Armenians reediving abundant material and help from the Russians, who in a provocative move recently shifted arms from bases that they are evacuating in Georgia to Armenia. The Russians will always play the Armenian card against Azerbaijan, just as they will the Abkhaz one against the Georgians. Meddling in the Caucasus is second nature to them. 
The Armenians are very good fighters, as they showed in the preceding conflict, which they after all won. Baku would be advised to make jaw-jaw, not war-war, at this juncture.
In May, Azerbaijan inaugurated a US-backed pipeline, which will deliver oil from Caspian Sea oil fields to the Mediterranean at Ceyhan and is expected to generate as much as US$160bn for the country over the next 30 years. 
Analysts say Baku may try to use the money to finance an attempt to restore control over Nagorno-Karabakh. 
Armenian forces took control of the mountainous area and seven other regions in a bitter war in the early 1990s, but Azerbaijan has understandably refused to give up its claim to the territory, a large area - 20% of Azerbaijan's territory - in the country surrounding the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.

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BP to drill wells at Azerbaijan's Inam structure

BP-Azerbaijan will continue exploratory work in that country's section of the Caspian Sea with the start of exploratory-well drilling at the Inam structure in 2006, company President, David Woodword said recently, New Europe reported.
The drilling will be done by the semi-submersible floating platform Istiglal, Woodword said. BP, operator for the development of Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli and Shah-Denis, would not decline to drill exploratory wells on Azerbaijan's Caspian Sea shelf, he said. The company is convinced they would turn up major oil and gas reserves, he said.

Five test wells to be drilled in Kurovdagh oilfield 

In accordance with the contract on Kurovdagh oilfield development signed between Great Britain's Caspian energy group and Azerbaijan State Oil Company, five test wells will be drilled in the oilfield to appraise the volume of oil reserves, Azertaj reported recently.
The cost of drilling of every 2,000-3,000 metres well is estimated at 1.5m Euro. Currently, 10 wells situated 106 kilometres from Baku are operational. The daily oil production increased from 700 tonnes to 1050 tonnes. 

ExxonMobil to pay 30m Euro to Azerbaijan

ExxonMobil is expected to pay 30m Euro to Azerbaijan as compensation for its abandonment of the Nakhchivan offshore oil project, Natig Aliyev, president of the national oil company, SOCAR, said recently, New Europe reported.
The US company signed an agreement with SOCAR in 1997 to develop the project, with each party receiving a 50% share in the development. But after drilling an initial exploratory well at a cost of 80m Euro, Exxon concluded that the project was not commercially viable, although SOCAR insisted on the drilling of a second well as specified in the initial agreement. Aliyev added that the two parties had agreed on the sum and that the two parties had agreed on the sum and that the process of legally terminating the project was underway.

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Azerbaijan, Germany sign financing pact 

An agreement on financial cooperation between the governments of Azerbaijan and Germany was ratified at the session of Milli Majlis (parliament) on June 24, Azertaj reported. 
During the discussions, it was stressed that such agreements indicated that Azerbaijan is a politically and economically reliable partner. In accordance with the first and the second stages of agreement that is composed of three parts, in connection with application of an endowment insurance system, the government of Germany is going to provide Azerbaijan with a credit of five million Euro and a grant of one million Euro. The next part of the agreement envisages giving the third credit tranche for reconstruction of water supply and sewerage systems of the city of Ganja.

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