Azeri Defense Chief Threatens Regional Stability

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–During a meeting with the US Minsk Group Co-Chair Matthew Bryza, Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Tuesday threatened that the situation in Karabakh may "go out of control" if Armenian troops do not immediately withdraw from Karabakh without preconditions.
Defense Minister Safar Abiev’s threats come three days ahead of a Saint Petersburg summit between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, which international mediators hope will kick-start stalled peace talks on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict.
Abiev’s reference to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as "occupied Azerbaijani territory," and his statement that the situation in the region may flare out of control, however, confirms official Baku’s uncompromising position echoed last week by President Ilham Aliyev.
"I don’t think that the recent militant statemen’s from Azerbaijan will contribute to the establishment of an atmosphere of trust in the negotiations," Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian said Tuesday in an interview on Russian television. "In order to solve a conflict, it is necessary to prevent propaganda, especially military propaganda."
Nalbandian said that Armenia hopes that the forthcoming meeting in Saint Petersburg will provide an opportunity to move towards the continuation of talks.
"We are optimistic, because there is an opportunity to resolve the conflict," the Minister said.
But Armenia’s willingness is not enough, Azerbaijan’s willingness to resolve the conflict peacefuly is also necessary, he stressed.

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