Aliev (right), named his son, Ilham (center)
Prime Minister of Azerbaijan on Monday.
The international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict will not be affected by the domestic
political uncertainty in Azerbaijan and may even
gather fresh momentum later this year, U.S. Ambassador
to Armenia John Ordway said on Tuesday.
"We anticipate that these negotiations will
continue with whoever is in office in Azerbaijan
as a result of what we hope and expect will be
constitutional processes, whether it is the election
scheduled for October or some other process that
intervenes in the meantime," Ordway told
a news conference in Yerevan.
"Those negotiations will not take place
in a vacuum. They will take place in the context
and against the background of discussions and
negotiations that have occurred over the course
of a number of years."
Prospects for a breakthrough in the Karabakh
peace process, effectively frozen this year due
to elections in Armenia and Azerbaijan, look even
more uncertain now that Azerbaijan's ailing President
Heydar Aliev seems to be bequeathing power to
his politically inexperienced son Ilham. The latter
was appointed prime minister on Monday, reinforcing
the widely held belief that he will soon take
charge of the Azerbaijani presidency. Many observers
have serious misgivings about the younger Aliev's
ability to press ahead with a Karabakh settlement
that would require painful concessions to the
But according to Ordway, Heydar Aliev's possible
departure should not be a cause for concern as
far as the Karabakh peace talks are concerned.
He indicated that the U.S. and the two other nations
spearheading the process, Russia and France, may
soon step up their push for a "long-lasting,
durable settlement that is in the interest of
He said: "There isn't going to be an agreement
until final agreement is reached on all of the
details, until both sides can come to some common
understanding of what is in their own mutual best
interest. We will have just to see how that process
develops as it picks up speed, hopefully, later
in the year."
Washington signaled on Monday that it will accept
the first dynastic succession in the former Soviet
Union if it is backed up by a clean presidential
election. "The appointment of Mr. Ilham Aliev,
the son of the president of Azerbaijan, it is
fully consistent with the Azerbaijani constitution,"
said a spokesman for the State Department, Philip
Reeker. "We would look forward to working
with Prime Minister Aliev as he assumes his new
duties on a broad range of issues that comprise
US-Azerbaijani bilateral ties.
"We hope and expect that he will work for
economic and democratic reform, including creating
an atmosphere for an improved election process