Russian General Favors a More Pro Azeri Policy

ISTANBUL-The chairman of the Russian Federations parliamentary defense committee–General Lev Rokhlin–said that Russia–until now–has defended Armenia’s interests at the expense of losing Azerbaijan to NATO and the West– Istanbul-based Marmara reported–quoting the Baku correspondent of Zaman newspaper–Farouk Aslan.

According to Aslan–Rokhlin was concerned that Russia would lose Azerbaijan unless policy changes are adopted soon.

"Armenia must recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan–and must withdraw from the occupied territories. We give Armenia until April to resolve the Karabakh issue," Rokhlin was quoted as saying during an ORT television broadcast.

Rokhlin warned that in case Armenia fails to meet the April deadline–Russia would pull out its forces as well as any military equipment from Armenia.

According to Rokhlin–Russian policy in this matter is wrong. In addition–the balance continually shifts in the region and as a result of its policy Russia is left out– Rokhlin said.

Commenting on Russian Defense Minister Igor Rodionovs recent visit to Baku which did not result in any specific military agreement–Rokhlin said–"Our policy of siding with Armenia has alienated the Azeris. As long as the Karabakh issue remains unresolved–healthy economic–military and political relations between Russia and Azerbaijan cannot be forged."

"We will not enter into war with Turkey for Armenia. Our relations with Turkey are progressing on a daily basis and have reached a beneficial stage. If we continue our harsh policy–then Azerbaijan will gravitate toward the West and we will bear the loss," Rokhlin said.

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