President Serzh Sarkisian took a swipe at his Azerbaijani counerpart Ilham Aliyev on Thursday after the latter said that “something is missing” in the brains of Armenia’s leaders.
Aliyev made the remark at a joint news conference with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Baku on Wednesday. He backed Turkish allegations that Sarkisian voiced Armenian territorial claims to Turkey last week.
“I am well informed about [Sarkisian’s] way of thinking. In effect, this demonstrates the aggressive essence of Armenia,” Aliyev said.
“But to have territorial claims to Turkey? This simply means that something is missing in the heads of these people,” he added.
Sarkisian hit back by questioning Aliyev’s sanity. “Was that a statement by a normal person, let alone a head of state?” he told a joint news conference with Poland’s visiting President Bronislaw Komorowski.
The bitter exchange could further complicate international mediators’ efforts to salvage the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process after Aliyev’s and Sarkisian’s failure to reach a framework peace agreement at their last meeting held in Kazan, Russia on June 24.
Sarkisian again blamed Aliyev for the outcome of the summit mediated by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
“I wouldn’t call the Kazan meeting a fiasco, even though, as I said, both we and the international community had a lot of expectations from that meeting,” he said. “We were indeed very close to success at Kazan. It’s just that what happened should have happened.”
“First of all, I mean the absence of an appropriate atmosphere. That atmosphere must be improved in the first instance. You cannot poison your people every day and at every level,” he added, referring to the Azerbaijani leadership’s Karabakh-related rhetoric.
Aliyev said on Wednesday that Azerbaijan will eventually regain control over Karabakh “by peaceful or military means.”