Azerbaijan’s longtime Defense Minister Safar Abiyev on Tuesday dismissed as “psychological” pressure Armenian claims that Armenia’s newly revamped military alliance with Russia will deter Baku from attempting a military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“These are political and psychological statements,” the Trend news agency quoted Abiyev as saying. “They are not a demonstration of force and only stem from Armenia’s weakness.”
A spokesman for the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry likewise said last week that the far-reaching amendments to a 1995 Russian-Armenian defense treaty “cannot hinder or stop the Azerbaijani army.” He rejected as “laughable” claims to the contrary made by Armenian officials and pro-government politicians.
Still, other Azerbaijani officials have indicated serious unease over the new Russian-Armenian agreement. According to Novruz Mammadov, who heads the foreign relations department at President Ilham Aliyev’s administration, it amounts to Moscow’s “overt support” for “an occupying country” and therefore runs counter to international law.
Speaking to the APA news agency on Thursday, Mammadov said that by prolonging and upgrading its military presence in Armenia with that agreement, Russia called into question its stated neutrality toward the Karabakh conflict.
Reports from Baku have also said that Azerbaijani pro-government lawmakers plan raise their concerns about the new Russian-Armenian pact with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The pact was signed in Yerevan on August 20 just four days after Turkish President Abdullah Gul reaffirmed his country’s unconditional support for Azerbaijan in the dispute during an official visit to Baku. Gul and Aliyev reportedly signed a new Turkish-Azerbaijani agreement on “strategic partnership” and “mutual assistance.”
According to APA, Abiyev said that the agreement envisages, among other things, Turkish military assistance to Azerbaijan. The minister did not specify what concrete forms that assistance will take.