06 July 2010, 23:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events on June 28 - July 4

Beating of lawyers in Dagestan continues; the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh gets into focus of world community; another terror act committed by a suicide bomber in Chechnya, - look these and other events in the review of the week from June 28 to July 4, 2010, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Lawyers in Dagestan are beaten

Rasul Kadiev, a Dagestan lawyer and advocate, has reported to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that on July 3 at the Sovietskiy ROVD (District Interior Division) of Makhachkala an inspector beat Dzhamilya Tagirova, a lawyer of the Dagestan Specialized Bar. The inspector hit the female lawyer with his fist on the face, when she tried to preserve a torn protocol. The source refused to disclose the name of the attacker.

Now, Ms Tagirova's client - the only witness of the attack - is detained.

The incident has caused resonance among Dagestan-based bloggers, who are worried with the recent frequent incidents of this sort in the republic.

Let us note here that on July 2 lawyer Sapiyat Magomedova, who was earlier beaten under similar circumstances, was transferred for treatment to Moscow, since the management of the private clinic in Makhachkala, where she took her treatment, was pressed on by various controlling bodies.

Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh: talks at the background of skirmishes

Last week all the parties of the Karabakh conflict expressed their attitude to the joint statement of the leaders of Russia, United States and France of June 26, calling the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to accelerate their work on the main principles of settlement, in order to start drafting the peaceful agreement.

The statement of the presidents of the countries-co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group has completely satisfied Azerbaijan. This was stated by Ali Gasanov, head of the public-political department of the president's administration of this country.

"The statement recognizes occupation of Azerbaijani lands and has a demand to withdraw Armenian troops from the captured territories. The document expresses the will of the states to solve the Karabakh problem," he said.

Elmar Mamedyarov, Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, was also positive in assessing the statement of the three presidents. He has noted that the document assumes "a stage-by-stage settlement of the conflict and reflects the realities," and also coincides with the updated "Madrid principles", as a whole accepted by Azerbaijan.

Armenian experts have positively treated, as a whole, the joint statement of presidents of Russia, USA and France on Nagorno-Karabakh and basic principles of settlement.

The efforts of the three presidents directed towards settlement of the Karabakh conflict were also highly estimated by Edvard Nalbandyan, Foreign Minister of Armenia.

In Nagorno-Karabakh, the June 26 statement was perceived sceptically.

In the opinion of Masis Mailyan, chairman of the public board on foreign policy and security and ex-deputy minister of foreign affairs of Nagorno-Karabakh, "an offer to the Armenian parties of some unclear intermediate status for Karabakh with a foggy 'will expression of its population' in exchange of a radical decrease of the level of own safety is at least unserious."

On July 1, NGOs of Nagorno-Karabakh voiced out an appeal to the heads of Russia, USA and France and "to everyone who has undertaken to solve the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict."

The appeal runs that the "Madrid principles" "cannot be realized," since "the level of distrust of the population of the NKR (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) in Azerbaijani political leadership, because of the pursued policy of hatred to Armenians, establishment of the authoritarian rule in the country and violations of the rights of both national minorities and ethnic Azerbaijanis, who struggle with the regime, has grown ten- and hundred-fold."

A similar point of view was expressed by several dozens of ex-combatants (war veterans) who gathered on July 2 in Yerevan near the President's Palace. They demanded from Serzh Sargsyan, the head of Armenia, to demonstrate toughness and not to give in to pressure.

Arkadi Karapetyan, leader of the combatant organization has proclaimed: "The 'Madrid principles' are unacceptable for us. Not a square foot of land! Death of our comrades was not vain!"

On that very day, the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on settling the Karabakh conflict Igor Popov (Russia), Robert Bradtke (USA) and Bernard Fassier (France) came to Nagorno-Karabakh, and from there - to Azerbaijan and Armenia. One of the aims of the visit is to prepare a meeting in Almaty in the end of July with participation of representatives of all the countries-co-chairs and parties of the conflict.

After the co-chairs of the Minsk Group arrived in the region, they were followed by the US State Secretary Hilary Clinton. In the course of her two-day visit to Armenia she stated the unacceptability of use of force in addressing the Karabakh problem. According to Ms Clinton, the conflict should be settled on the basis of three principles of the Helsinki final act of the OSCE: non-use of force, inviolability of borders and the right of nations to self-determination.

While summing up her visit to Baku, the State Secretary noted the progress in settlement of the conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh. She also called the parties to abstain from use of force and respect the principles of the Helsinki final act.

Hilary Clinton's visit took place at the background of serious criticism of the decision passed by the US Congress on June 30 on increasing help to Nagorno-Karabakh. In 2011 this republic will receive 11 million US dollars. The House of Representatives has also approved the volume of financial help to Armenia, which will receive next year 44 million US dollars.

Besides, the US Congress has preserved parity in military help to Armenia and Azerbaijan, having allotted to both countries by 3.5 million US dollars as military funding and by 450,000 US dollars for international military education and retraining.

On July 1, the Azerbaijani-American Council (AAC) and Azerbaijani Society of America (ASA) expressed indignation about the help to the leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh. Members of the Azerbaijani Diaspora said that this sum is by 2 million higher than in 2010 and twice as in 2009.

"This position of the Subcommittee of the House of Representatives is not only contradictory to the official US policy, which recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan - a UN member state, but also undermines the US reputation as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group," runs the press release of the ААС.

Let us note also that the visits of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group and the US State Secretary took place at the background of another round of mutual accusations of the parties in conflict of violating the ceasefire regime. According to the Ministry of Defence of Azerbaijan, on July 2-3, subdivisions of Armenian internal troops repeatedly opened fire from sub-machine and machine guns. Officials of the Armenian armed forces refuted these accusations.

Northern Caucasus staggered by suicide bombers

On June 30, in the centre of Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, an explosion was triggered near the state theatrical-concert hall. It was committed by Adam Khamidov, 22, a resident of the Chechen capital. According to law enforcement bodies, he was not a militant, while his brother is an active member of the armed underground.

A less powerful explosion was triggered in the republic on July 4, when unidentified persons threw an explosive device into the yard of a militiaman, who lives in Sernovodskaya village, Sunzha District. The explosion wounded the militiaman's sister aged 28.

A series of explosions took place in the adjacent Dagestan.

On July 3 in Kaspiisk, two explosive devices were triggered at night in the territory of the tabernacle of the Seventh Day Adventists; fortunately, there were no victims.

One day earlier an explosive device blew up in front of a cargo train in the Manas-Achisu railway section. There were victims, and some cars got derailed.

On that very day a bomb blew up in the road from Makhachkala to the airport, several kilometres off Kaspiisk, when a car with a militiaman inside was passing by. Nobody suffered.

On June 30, not far from Makhachkala, a blown-up car was found with remnants of three human bodies.

One of the most resonant events in Ingushetia was shelling - on July 4 - of two Ural trucks, which transported servicemen of the temporary operative grouping of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Two militiamen were killed and four more wounded.

Other armed clashes with casualties in Northern Caucasus were reported.

Thus, on July 3 in the Kizlyar District of Dagestan, a suspected member of illegal armed formations (IAFs) was liquidated during a special operation, and a militiaman was wounded.

On June 29, in the Khasavyurt District of Chechnya, a militiaman was wounded when a RPS (Road-Patrol Service) unit was shelled. Then, in Plievo village of the Nazran District of Ingushetia, a special operation was undertaken, which resulted in liquidation of two suspected militants.

One day earlier, in the foothill Achkhoy-Martan District of Chechnya an officer of the local MIA was lost in a skirmish with militants.

On June 28 in Ingushetia, seven unidentified persons dressed in camouflage kidnapped, under threats of sub-machine guns, a resident of Arshty village, Sunzha District. The incident happened near Assinovskaya village.

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