BAKU (ANS/Baku Today)–Azeri law-enforcement authorities have charged five members of the Karabagh Liberation Organization (KLO) with hooliganism after their arrest on Tuesday for disrupting a NATO planning conference being held in Baku. The group was protesting the participation of Armenian officers Colonel Murad Isakhanian and Senior Lieutenant Aram Hovannisian.
KLO leader Akif Naghi is reportedly among those arrested after the group slipped away from police guarding the conference site–and succeeding in smashing a glass wall of the conference hall.
KLO deputy chairman Barat Imani told the Turan news agency its protests were not limited to the above disruption–but that a KLO member succeeded in entering the conference site after the NATO session was in progress–and announced: "You are sharing this hall with Armenian officers–aggressors–terrorists–and occupiers. The participation of representatives of aggressor-states in a NATO event conflicts with NATO policies. No one had the right to invite them to Baku–and if they have dignity–they must leave Azerbaijan."
KLO had warned authorities earlier that they would take drastic measures if the Armenian officers were allowed to attend the meeting to discuss the NATO-led military exercise to be held in Azerbaijan this September.
Azerbaijan’s foreign affairs ministry meanwhile dismissed a statement by parliamentary speaker Murtuz Aleskerov–that the Armenian officers had arrived in Baku secretly.
A statement by foreign ministry said the arrival of Armenian officers had been officially announced by deputy foreign minister Araz Azimov.