Jr. Aliyev Threatens Force in Karabagh

BAKU (AP/Armenpress)–During a nationally televised campaign address–Azerbaijan’s prime minister and presidential candidate–Ilham Aliyev–reiterated Azerbaijani threats to regain the territory of Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) by force–if the issue is not resolved in the coming years. "Azerbaijan will use all possible means for the liberation of its territories and everyone should know this," he said–calling for the restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and for Armenian armed forces to leave Azerbaijani territory.

Armenia’s Defense Minister Serge Sarkissian reacted to the statement by saying that–in his position–the danger of war is a serious consideration; he explained–however–that Azerbaijan’s armed forces are presently incapable of solving any problem militarily. "I think that Azerbaijan is bluffing–perhaps because we have been talking a great deal about the danger of war and our determination to avoid war and remain within the framework of peace negotiations concerning the Karabaghi conflict," said Sarkissian.

In his address–Aliyev appealed to non-governmental organizations to cut off contact with Armenia–an "aggressor state." He said no ties should be pursued with Armenia until Azerbaijan regains territory lost in the war over MKR–which ended in 1994–when Armenia-backed forces drove Azerbaijani forces out of the mostly ethnic Armenian region within Azerbaijan.

Aliyev–son of President Heydar Aliyev–was named prime minister last month–shortly before his 80-year-old father was flown to a US clinic for medical treatment after a month in a Turkish hospital. Both Ilham Aliyev and his father are registered candidates in the October 15 presidential election; opposition politicians insist the father-son team is setting the stage for a transfer of power.

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