Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has blamed Armenia for the continuing impasse in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process and accused the international community of using double standards against his country.
Chairing a cabinet meeting in Baku at the weekend, Aliyev condemned the West for not imposing economic sanctions against Armenia and for maintaining contacts with Karabakh’s leaders.
“The mediators had some optimism late last year but it is proving misplaced,” he said in remarked posted on his website. “Today we can again see that Armenia is simply stalling for time and trying to preserve the ‘no-war-no-peace’ situation, while the international mediators are unfortunately not exerting serious pressure on them.”
Armenian leaders will brush aside these claims, having already accused Aliyev of torpedoing a Armenian-Azerbaijani summit that was planned for the beginning of this year. The summit was delayed by a January upsurge in ceasefire violations in the conflict zone, which followed a reported Azerbaijani incursion on Karabakh Armenian army positions. The U.S., Russian and French mediators are reportedly seeking to arrange Aliyev’s fresh meeting with President Serzh Sarkisian on the sidelines of a European Union summit in Prague later this month.
“Thousands of Azerbaijani citizens were killed. A genocide was perpetrated against us. But no sanctions are imposed on Armenia as a result,” Aliyev told his ministers.
“Why?” he asked. “How long will we be facing these double standards? What is the reason for that? Why are the leaders of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic not suffering from sanctions?”
Aliyev added that Baku has been demanding that Western nations stop issuing entry visas to Karabakh Armenian leaders visiting the United States and Europe on a regular basis. “They go there, hold illegal telethons and raise money,” he complained. “They then use that money against us.
“Their ‘leaders’ are received in leading Western countries. They are issued visas, they open representations there, make trips. Why?”