Azeri Defense Ministry Responds to Russian-Armenian Defense Pact

BAKU (Combined Sources)–Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry on Thursday rejected a claim by Armenia’s Defense Minister that a recently signed military agreement between Armenia and Russia could commit the Kremlin to supporting Yerevan in case of renewed war over Nagorno-Karabakh, RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service reported on Friday.

Armenia and Russia signed a defense deal on August 20 extending the presence of a Russian military base in Armenia until 2044. The deal amended an existing bilateral treaty signed in 1995 that regulated the presence of the Russian military base in Armenia’s second largest city, Gyumri. The amended agreements also commit Moscow to upgrading the mission of its 3,000 troops stationed in Gyumri, as well as providing Armenia with modern military equipment.

According to the Associated Press, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said after his talks with visiting Russian President, Dmitri Medvedev, that the military pact also committed Russia to protecting Armenia’s security.

In an interview with RFE/RL shortly after, Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian reiterated Sarkisian’s remarks, adding that under the Russo-Armenian pact, Moscow would come to Armenia’s aid if renewed conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh “became a threat to the Republic of Armenia.”

“The Republic of Armenia and not another country is the guarantor of Artsakh’s security, meanwhile I must say that if a military threat to Nagorno Karabakh grows into a direct threat to the Republic of Armenia, no doubt, Russia will carry out its allied commitments and those stipulated by the agreement,” Ohanian was quoted by Panorama.am as saying.

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry publicly dismissed Ohanian’s remarks on August 26. Speaking to ANS-TV, the head of the Azeri Defense Ministry press office, Eldar Sabiroglu, dismissed the statement as “ridiculous” and called Ohanian the “chief of department for the Russian Defense Minister,” News.az reported.

“He [Ohanian] is already behaving as the chief of department for the Russian Defense Ministry and it seems ridiculous,” Sabiroglu was quoted by News.az as saying. “Our lands are occupied. Armenian separatists must be withdrawn from these lands by all means.”

Commenting on the Russian-Armenian pact, Sabiroglu said the Azeri Defense Ministry interpreted the agreement as being “signed between the two states.” He said the contents of the document are up to the contracting parties but noted that the “protocol can neither stop nor curb the Azerbaijani army.”

He added that Azerbaijan must upgrade its military’s weaponry under the new circumstances.

Nagorno-Karabakh, an historic Armenian territory is populated completely by indigenous Armenians. The region was invaded by the Azerbaijani Armenia after it declared its independence from Soviet rule in 1991. Baku’s incursion and earlier attempts at ethnic cleansing in the late 1980s prompted a war that left some 30,000 dead. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic remains unrecognized by the world community and international mediators have so far failed to broker a final peace accord between Azerbaijan. Baku continues to threaten renewed war in the region and regularly violates a cease-fire regime in place since 1994.

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6 Comments

  1. Abbe said:

    Propaganda from mister Defence minister… isn’t it. Just to spread more hate in the population.

  2. stephen bekian said:

    The Azeries should know by now that Artsakh is totaly an Armenian Enclave for ages , so do the Iranians
    know so Russia knows , why keep on crying , on a piece of land that has no value to the Azeries , you have the petrol in the caspian sea what more do you want , you hungry mongruls .

  3. john papazian said:

    The only way the Russians would be directly involved would be if the Azeri tribe attacked Russian millitary personal stationed in Armenia.

  4. Arthur said:

    This is Azeri politics to cover up their spending by lying to their people on where the gas and oil money is going. They tell their people that its being spent on military and pulling a wool over their eyes while they all pocket the money and leave their people in poverty.

  5. Sirvart said:

    Yeah right… See people how the pogromal azerbaijani’s always speak about Armenians in Artsakh? “The Armenian Separatists must be driven out of there at all costs”. Nazirliyi, you came to our Armenian Highlands from the middle of Asia, took over our country which was our homeland for thousands of years, and if any small chance given to your government and people; you will undoubtedly annihilate all of 130,000+ Armenian souls in Artsakh. Given any small chance, you will also annihilate the 3 Million Armenians in our Republic, take over our Sevan lake and claim it that it has been yours all along. You wish to take over our Artsakh lands so that you’ll repeat annihilating our people as you did it in Baku, Sumgeit and three other cities? Armenians will live and they will flourish. We are resilient bunch of people and we shall survive at all costs, remember that!

    Dear Mr. Seyran Ohanian, you are my hero as you only speak the truth!!!!!

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