(AP) - Azerbaijan's prime minister - the son of the president and a candidate in the presidential vote next month - called on nongovernmental organizations to halt all contacts with neighboring Armenia because of their dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh.
"I am appealing to nongovernmental organizations: cut off contacts with Armenia, do not enter into any relations with the aggressor state," Ilham Aliev said in a nationally televised campaign address in the former Soviet republic.
He said no ties should be pursued with Armenia until Azerbaijan regains territory lost in the war over Nagorno-Karabakh, which ended in 1994 when Armenia-backed forces drove Azerbaijani forces out of the mostly ethnic Armenian region within Azerbaijan.
"First of all the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan must be restored, the Armenian armed forces of Armenia must leave Azerbaijani territory, refugees and displaced people must return to their home places," Aliev said, reiterating demands Azerbaijan has made before. He also reiterated Azerbaijani threats of an effort to regain the territory by force, saying that if the issue is not resolved in the coming years "Azerbaijan will use all possible means for the liberation its territories and everyone should know this."
Aliev, son of President Heydar Aliev, was named prime minister last month shortly before his 80-year-old father was flown to a U.S. clinic for medical treatment after a month in a Turkish hospital. Both Ilham Aliev and his father are registered as candidates in the October 15 presidential election, and opposition politicians say the president has been setting the stage for a transfer of power to his son.