Aliyev Snubs Calls from Gul, Clinton to Drop Boycott of Istanbul Summit

BAKU–Efforts to persuade Azeri President Ilham Aliyev to attend a UN sponsored summit in Istanbul after his abrupt decision to pull out of the conference have failed despite phone calls from Turkey’s President and and the US Secretary of State to convince him otherwise, the Azeri Press Agency reported Monday.

Aliyev has decided to boycott the April 7 Alliance of Civilizations conference in Istanbul, where it is rumored that Ankara and Yerevan could restore relations. When rumors of such a reconciliation began, Azerbaijan threatened to cut off natural gas supplies to Turkey.

The Hurriyet Daily News on April 6 linked Aliyev’s refusal to attend the summit to him being worried about the possibility Turkey might open its border without a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem acceptable to Baku.

According to the Azeri Press Agency, Turkish President Abdullah Gul called Aliyev on April 3, asking him to reconsider his refusal to attend the Summit. Gul’s phone call was followed by one made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and another by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s, who promised Aliyev a meeting with Obama on the summit’s sidelines. All three efforts to persuade him to attend, however, failed.

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