BAKU (RFE/RL)–The chief foreign policy aide to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday accused Russia and the West of supporting Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and thereby delaying its peaceful resolution.
“I will be frank. I believe Armenia is backed by some powers which is why it is not willing to make any steps back in such a difficult situation while they realize their own situation,” the official, Novruz Mammadov, told Azad Azarbaycan TV in an interview monitored by the BCC.
“Some virtual powers support them, otherwise, knowing Armenians’ trait, they would immediately beg for mercy from Turkey and Azerbaijan and ask to rescue them. They are still being supported by that virtual power.”
When asked whether that power is Russia, Armenia’s traditional ally, Mammadov said, “I also mean the West. At this period of negotiations strong pressure needs to be put on Armenia by the USA, Russia, France and the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs. Each time Armenia tries to demonstrate that everything depends on it and that no one puts pressure on them.”
Mammadov, who heads the foreign relations department in Aliyev’s administration, has already made such claims in the past. In one televised interview reported in late 2006, for example, he complained that the mediating powers are “forgetting about” the need to restore Azerbaijan’s control over Karabakh and surrounding Armenian-controlled territories. “Unfortunately, we have never heard anything about Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity from them,” he said.
The Azerbaijani official’s latest remarks mirrored Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s strong criticism of the international mediators voiced on Sunday. Erdogan claimed that the Karabakh disputed would have already been resolved had the U.S., Russia and France “worked hard” enough. He faulted them for not putting sufficient pressure on Armenia to end “the occupation of Azerbaijani territory.”