Azeri Foreign Minister Visits Lebanon ARF Central Committee Issues Statement

BEIRUT (Xinhua)–The visiting Azeri Foreign Minister Hassan Hassanov expressed hope to boost ties with Lebanon–saying the two countries’ resources are mutually complementary.

After meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Fares Boueiz–he told reporters that Lebanon enjoys huge funds while Azerbaijan is rich in oil. The two countries can achieve joint profits by cooperation–said Hassanov–who arrived in Lebanon Thursday for a two-day visit.

When asked about Azerbaijan’s internal affairs–he referred to the Karabakh conflict as solved and stable. Meanwhile–he stressed that the same should be applied on the Lebanese-Israeli conflict–calling on Israel to observe the United Nations Security Council resolutions and withdraw its troops from south Lebanon.

Israel established a 1,200-square kilometer security zone in southern Lebanon in 1985 to protect its northern borders.

During his stay in Lebanon–Hassanov also held talks with Lebanese President Elias Hrawi–Parliament Speaker Nabih Berry and Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Lebanese press report said that the aim of the visit by Hassanov is to deal with this central Asian country’s recently-discovered oil.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Central Committee of Lebanon issued a statement responding to several interviews circulating in Lebanese newspapers–condemning Hassanov’s attempts to influence Lebanese public opinion on the Karabakh conflict. In the statement the ARF Central Committee point-by-point addressed commen’s by the Azeri foreign minister.

The statemen’s said that any attempts by the Azeri foreign minister to create the misconception that the Karabakh conflict is between Armenia and the Turkic republic is futile–because that conflict is a matter of the right of Karabakh’s right under international law to self-determination and not a territorial issue with Armenia.

As a second point–the ARF Central Committee of Lebanon stated that the number of Azeri refugees cited by Hassanov (1 million)–is a gross exaggeration. According to official census figures–the number of Azeri refugees does not exceed 600,000–while more than 700,000 Armenia’s were forced out of their homes and deported out of Baku–Sumgait–Shahumian–Getashen and other regions of Karabakh because of massacres and persecution.

The statement also pointed out that the Armenian side has always advocated the peaceful settlement of the conflict–and all this while it has been Azerbaijan who has refused to come to the table of negotiations with Karabakh.

Finally–the ARF Central Committee criticized Hassanov for his flimsy statement on the Israeli-Lebanese conflict–saying that it is no surprise that the Azeri official refuses to express his government’s opinion on the matter–because it was only a few months ago–when–through Turkey’s intervention–Benjamin Netanyahu visited Azerbaijan to discuss billion dollar oil deals. The ARF Central Committee declared in the statement that the just causes find just solutions–and therefore the Israeli aggression toward Lebanon just as the Karabakh liberation struggle are based on principle of self -determination and freedom of the peoples of these two regions.

"We are confident that the Lebanese people and public opinion will indeed support the right to self-determination of the Armenian and Lebanese people in their just struggles," concluded the statement.

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