YEREVAN—President Serzh Sarkisian on Saturday, while speaking to a group of youth in Tsaghkadzor, said his preference is for Azeri President Ilham Aliyev to stay on as the leader of Azerbaijan in the upcoming elections there in October.
“Armenia, and not only Armenia, is interested in neighbors that have chosen the path of democracy. Thus, when it comes to a neighbor, especially to a partner in negotiations, Armenia is invariably interested in a democratic Azerbaijan,” said Sarkisian, in response to a question from the audience, which was comprised of participants in a youth camp known as the Bazeh Pan-Armenian Youth Gathering.
“However, if we disregard that fact for a moment, the answer to the question is the following: we would rather see President Ilham Aliyev win,” said Sarkisian, citing the continuing peace talks over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as his reason.
“We have been going through a difficult and long process of negotiations, and the framework for a solution is almost outlined, at least through the public endorsement by both parties of the principles proposed by the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group,” explained Sarkisian. “They have been actively negotiated for the last four years. Certainly, I wouldn’t say that the process is very vigorous now, nevertheless a certain progress has been made, and if after the elections President Aliyev is able to display political will and rise above his fanatical Armenophobia, I believe that would be the most acceptable choice for us.”