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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


Update No: 320 - (31/08/07)

Is War brewing?
There are belligerent noises out of Azerbaijan - and how. 
It is clear that the president of the country is a chip off the old block - he seems to be busting for a war forthwith, with Armenia. That at least is the impression that is coming out of this Caspian state

Heydar Aliyev fought a popular war with the Armenians in the early 1990s, which, however, he lost. The Armenians however, were helped militarily by Russia.

Unlike his father, Ilham Aliyev is the full recipient of a bounty of oil money. In his father's day many of the oil revenues proceeded to Moscow, not to Baku. Now they come homewards, in other words to him, family, and friends. 

He has a grudge - so do the Azeris. The Armenians are occupying 20% of their terrain. He has an obvious response.

Azerbaijani President: Azerbaijan Prepared to Liberate Occupied Lands Any Time 
The Azerbaijani army is strengthening day and by day and is prepared to liberate its lands occupied by the Armenian armed forces, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on 23th August in a public meeting in Hajigabul District of Azerbaijan. 

The conflict between the two countries of South Caucasus began in 1988 due to territorial claims by Armenia against Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied 20% of the Azerbaijani land including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding Districts. Since 1992, these territories have been under the occupation of the Armenian Forces. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France and USA) are currently holding peaceful negotiations. 

"We take every measure to increase the military efficiency of our Army," the President said. Defence expenditure increases in Azerbaijan and currently the military budget of the country is equal to the public budget alone, of Armenia. "At present it is impossible to imagine someone attacking Azerbaijan," Aliyev stressed. 

The head of state once more stated the position of Azerbaijan, which is keen on a peaceable resolution of the Armenian -Azerbaijani conflict. 

Hajigabul with the population of 63,000 people is located 113km from Baku. On his arrival, the President participated in a ceremony by laying the first brick for the Children's Medical Centre. Nearly 23,000 children live in the district. According to the propaganda the centre will be supplied with modern equipment, which will be unique in the district. The construction will be complete within a year. Sounds good but this is one of the most corrupt nations on earth, so on matters of 'good works,' it is advisable not to 'hold your breath.'
Ilham Aliyev's visit to the region of Azerbaijan began on the morning of 23 August. In Neftchala district, the President visited several social facilities within the district. 


There is another factor, however, that of Iran and the US.

US President George W Bush's nemesis, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, paid an official visit to neighbouring Azerbaijan on August 21, in a move that some political pundits see as Tehran's effort to counter US influence in the energy-rich country.

Following talks with Ahmadinejad in Baku, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was quoted as saying, that energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and Iran can contribute to regional security. Both Baku and Tehran are considering the EU-backed Nabucco project, which if completed will increase gas exports to Europe. The Nabucco project is not only planned to export Azerbaijani gas, but it may also include Central Asian, Iranian and Egyptian gas as well. "We support the idea of the Nabucco project. The intention of other countries to participate in this project is only in favour for this project. Iran is a country rich in oil and gas," an Azeri diplomat told New Europe on August 23. He said the participation of Iran in Nabucco would help the EU diversify its energy supplies. 

Washington does not want Iran or Russia to become involved in Nabucco or any other project for that matter that carries Caspian hydrocarbons to Europe. "Understandably, the United States wants to alienate Iran and ostracise Russia," Manouchehr Takin, senior analyst at the Centre for Global Energy Studies in London, told New Europe on August 22, adding that Moscow is regaining its influence over the former Soviet States. "This is a mini Cold War... The United States wants to make sure these countries -- Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan -- use the East-West corridor to Turkey, the Black Sea and to Europe, and avoid Iran and the pipelines of the Russians. 

"During Ahmadinejad's visit to Baku, Azerbaijan and Iran also agreed to meet at a summit in Tehran in October with other Caspian states -- Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan - to break the impasse over the division of access to the sea's resources. The Azeri diplomat downplayed the connotations of Ahmadinejad's visit, noting that Azerbaijan has close diplomatic and trade relations with Iran, with which it shares strong historical and religious ties. 

Northern Iran is also home to upwards of 16 million ethnic Azeris, according to varying estimates, easily outnumbering the eight million in Azerbaijan itself. "The visit of Mr Ahmadinejad is a bilateral visit to discuss bilateral issues to develop our relations. I don't see any grounds to Azerbaijani and Iranian relations from the point of third countries," the diplomat said. "If Azerbaijan and Iran were not neighbours, there would be grounds for some speculation. "But Baku is also a key US ally in the strategic Caucasus region wedged between Iran and Russia. Oppenheimer & Co. energy analyst Fadel Gheit told New Europe on August 22 it is unlikely that the Azeri government would tinker with the projects in which foreign companies, especially BP, are involved since they are working to their advantage. "I'm not sure if Iran can actually impact decisions made by the Azeri government," Gheit said. "Turkey is a different case because Turkey is trying to walk a very tight rope. Turkey obviously needs oil and gas; it is an expanding economy so they will cut a deal (with Iran) separately," he said, adding that Ankara wants to reduce its reliance on Russia. Turkey has strengthened energy ties with Iran in recent months, despite protests from the US. Turkey signed a deal with Iran to import an annual three-six billion kilowatt hours of electricity from the Islamic republic, Turkey Energy Minister Hilmi Guler said on August 20, fresh from a trip to Iran. In July, Turkey signed a preliminary deal to use Iran as a transit route for Turkmen gas. The deal would also allow the country to develop Iran's South Pars gas field to transport gas to Europe. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan's main priority is to export its hydrocarbons to Europe. Azerbaijan plans to sign direct contracts to supply Azeri gas from Phase-2 of the massive Shah Deniz field. Part of Phase-1 gas is sold to Turkey on the Georgian-Turkish border. During Phase-2, exports will increase further, and Azerbaijan wants to sell this gas to Europe itself, without any intermediaries. "Turkey will not be able to buy all the gas. That is why Azerbaijan is also interested in direct negotiations with Europe (including Greece and Italy)," the Azeri diplomat said, "For us, the closest and the best market is Europe, which has huge needs and is interested in our natural resources."

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