By Emil Danielyan
Azerbaijan’s President Heydar Aliev praised on Saturday the eight-year ceasefire regime along the Armenian-Azerbaijani line of control around Nagorno-Karabakh, saying that the end of hostilities in 1994 without involvement of foreign peacekeeping forces was unprecedented. He also played down sporadic skirmishes on the heavily fortified frontline which continue to claim lives from both sides of the Karabakh conflict.
"The way how the ceasefire has been observed in the conflict zone since 1994 has no analogues in world practice," Itar-Tass news agency quoted Aliev as telling reporters at the Baku airport. Aliev, who has repeatedly threatened to win back Karabakh by force, said neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan have now incentives to restart the war which killed more than 20,000 people.
The remarks followed Baku’s claims about the intensifying shooting of the Azerbaijani army positions from the Armenian side. The Azerbaijani defense ministry reported on Thursday that one of its officers was fatally wounded by Karabakh Armenian forces while on duty.
Aliev was speaking on his way to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave where he will prepare for a meeting with President Robert Kocharian which will take place on a nearby section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border next Wednesday. "The last time we met each other was nine months ago. We have a lot of questions to discuss," he said.