Aliyev Says Russian Troops in Armenia a Danger to Region

ISTANBUL–The Turkish press reported on various statemen’s made by Azeri President Ilham Aliyev recently.

Aliyev–who is in Turkey on an official visit–referred to the Russian armed forces deployed in Armenia–saying they pose a danger to the region.

He said that although the Russia’s no longer take sides–which signifies progress–as they sided with Armenia previously–more action must be taken because Armenia is an occupying power. "Russia must clearly recognize that fact," Aliyev said. "It is wrong to treat the occupier and victim equally."

Aliyev asserted that Armenia behaves unilaterally and does not carry out the recommendations of international organizations. He pointed to the continued presence of Russian forces in Armenia–saying that they have been reinforced with Russian troops from Georgia.

"In the other countries of the Caucasus–there are no Russian troops," he said. "There are none in Azerbaijan and never will be."

Aliyev questioned who exactly the Russian forces in Armenia are confronting. "There was a Cold War before–but there is no such thing now."

According to Aliyev–the Russian troops are a threat not only against Azerbaijan and Turkey but also Georgia. "In this matter–Iran’stands by Azerbaijan–but prefers not to get involved," he said.

Aliyev expressed satisfaction that Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have agreed that Armenia must withdraw from Karabagh. "Those two countries have strategic importance–and through their initiative–a new process has begun–he said.

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