By Emil Danielyan
Prime Minister Ilham Aliev, who is tipped as Azerbaijan’s next president, scolded the international community late Wednesday for its “indifference” to his country’s grievances against Armenia which he accused of sponsoring terrorism.
The charges, voiced at a session of the UN General Assembly in New York, were dismissed as a pre-election rhetoric by leading Armenian politicians the next morning.
In his speech reported by Azerbaijani media, Aliev charged that major world powers have applied double standards to their fight against terrorism by failing to ensure Nagorno-Karabakh’s return under Baku’s rule and to implement UN Security Council Resolutions on the conflict. “Double standards are inadmissible in this struggle,” he said.
The four resolutions were adopted in 1993-94, at the height of the bitter war for Karabakh. They called for the withdrawal of Karabakh Armenian forces from occupied Azerbaijani territories and an immediate end to hostilities. But they made no mention of Karabakh itself and its future status.
Aliev, whose ailing father, President Heydar Aliev, is expected to step down after the October 15 presidential election, renewed long-standing Azerbaijani allegations that the Armenians resort to terrorism to retain their control over Karabakh. He said Karabakh and other disputed regions “seized as a result of foreign aggression and separatism” are hotbeds of international terrorism.
Such allegations have never been endorsed by any other state, including Turkey, or major international organizations.
In Yerevan, meanwhile, leaders of Armenia’s main political groups said Ilham’s tough talk is merely aimed at creating his domestic image of a strong leader capable of asserting Azerbaijani interests in the Karabakh conflict.
The younger Aliev’s victory in the presidential ballot is seen as a forgone conclusion by many observers. The unresolved conflict will be one of the 41-year-old leader’s most daunting challenges. International mediators plan make a fresh bid for peace after the Azerbaijani election.
Aliev said at the UN that Azerbaijan will never come to terms with the loss of Karabakh.
The president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Arkady Ghukasian, sounded equally uncompromising as he spoke to reporters in Yerevan on Wednesday. “I believe that Karabakh’s independence can not be a subject of negotiations,” he said.