Wednesday, August 20, 2014


NATO Chief Warns Baku Pardon Could Harm Peace Efforts

Demonstrators in Hungary hold up a photo of Armenian Army Lieutenant Gurgen Margarian (right) in front of the parliament building in Budapest on September 4 at a protest against the repatriation of Ramil Safarov.
Demonstrators in Hungary hold up a photo of Armenian Army Lieutenant Gurgen Margarian (right) in front of the parliament building in Budapest on September 4 at a protest against the repatriation of Ramil Safarov.
On a visit to Baku, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said he is "deeply concerned" over the pardoning of an Azerbaijani officer who killed an Armenian serviceman in Hungary eight years ago.

Last week, the Azerbaijani Army's Lieutenant Ramil Safarov was pardoned, promoted, and financially rewarded after arriving in Baku from Budapest, where he had been serving a life sentence for hacking to death Gurgen Margarian, a soldier from Azerbaijan's rival Armenia.
Rasmussen said the 2004 murder during a NATO training session in Hungary was a terrible crime that should not be glorified, as this damaged trust and did not contribute to resolving the conflict over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Rasmussen made the same statement on September 6 in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, where public outrage over the case has sparked protests.
Safarov's pardon has inflamed tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which are locked in an unresolved conflict over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly Armenian-populated region within Azerbaijan.
The two neighbors fought a war over the territory in the 1990s, with a fragile cease-fire in place since 1994. The separatist leadership's declaration of Nagorno-Karabakh's independence has never been recognized by another country.
Rasmussen on September 7 warned Baku and Yerevan against renewed hostilities.
"Two things are clear. First, that there is no military solution. And second, the only way forward is through dialogue, compromise and cooperation," Rasmussen said.
Aliyev Remains Defiant
But Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev remained defiant despite the NATO chief's comments, which followed similar criticism from Washington, Brussels, and Moscow.
Speaking at a joint news conference with Rasmussen, Aliyev said, "Armenia is unjustifiably kicking up a fuss over Ramil Safarov's pardoning," arguing that the process was legal and fair.
He said that Safarov had been repatriated "in conformity with the European Convention [on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons] and his pardoning is based on Azerbaijani legislation."
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on September 7 also voiced concern over Safarov's release, saying in a statement that "ethnically motivated hate crimes of this gravity should be deplored and properly punished -- not publicly glorified by leaders and politicians."
Hungary insists it returned Safarov to Azerbaijan after receiving assurances his life sentence would be enforced. Nevertheless, Yerevan broke off diplomatic links with Budapest over the case.
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said on September 6 that "making a hero out of a criminal is unacceptable," and accused Azerbaijan of endangering peace.
Aliyev's website, however, has been publishing a series of letters from citizens congratulating him for freeing the killer.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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Comment Sorting
by: Zoltan from: Hungary
September 07, 2012 16:08
You can see that a lot of people in Hungary opposes the step done by the government to extradite that killer Safarov.

Armenia we stand by you!
In Response

by: greg from: virginia
September 07, 2012 19:13
thanks again for the expression of support Zoltan. Unfortunately the international reaction is being interpreted in Azerbaijan as a "fuss" kicked up by Armenians. So once again, it's all one big armenian conspiracy, not a genuine expression of international disgust. And as the UN and Amnesty International have observed today, what has happened is essentially an endorsement - by the Baku government and Aliev's administration - of the unmitigated use of violence against Armenians (probably any Armenian) as a response to NKRs bid for self government. And if AZ can so casually violate its agreement with Hungary (it's so-called ally) to reincarcerate Safarov, how can anyone in the OSCE Minsk group, or any other mediating body, seriously expect AZ to honor any agreement with regard to NKR after signing it? AZ is just trying to dupe the NKR defense forces into standing down. As soon as the ink is dry on any agreement, Azeri tanks and guns will poor into Karabagh, and the final wipe-out of NKR Armenians will begin. The Minsk group needs to wake up, because that is the game plan of the Azeri government. There is no genuine interest on their part to talk to, listen to, or give one thought to the rights of people in NKR if those people are Armenians.
In Response

by: J from: US
September 10, 2012 00:21
In the last round of the 40th World Chess Olympiad Armenia was matched against Hungary. Levon Aronian secured a perpetual against Peter Leko, and the other games continued.

After the time control Gabriel Sargissian drew the rook endgame against Ferenc Berkes, and Sergei Movsesian scored a crucial victory against Zoltan Almasi. Eventually Vladimir Akopian held Judit Polgar to a draw to mark the start of huge celebration for Armenian gold medal.

by: sam from: los angeles
September 08, 2012 00:48
Greg, there was absolutely wonderful. I absolutely agree with your view on this issue. The problem in my opinion is not the Azerbajani people, rather it is their government. I really think it's disgusting how a single government could perpetrate so much propaganda. At a certain point, you would think that their officials would figure out that their actions are making their on people ignorant.

by: Sinav from: South Azerbaijan
September 08, 2012 04:21
Former Armenian president Robert Kocharian and the incumbent president of Armenia Serz Sarkisian, both personally were acting military officers during the Karabakh war and their respective cabinet included and does include their peers who never gave up slaughtering the Azerbaijanis even after United Nations’ Security Council condemned the Armenian side by its four consecutive resolutions. On the occasion that EU and U.S. gets along with criminals of war warmly, then how could anyone expect Azerbaijan not to abide by the dominant current of the Western standards?!! Turnabout is fair play.
In Response

by: Mamuka
September 08, 2012 23:34
Not just "acting military officers" but I think they were very senior officers if not Generals. If you see tourist maps in Yerevan you will see that Armenia and Karabakh are shown as one single area with only very slight indication of border. You can get a visa but really it is not even necessary.
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
September 09, 2012 14:54
Sinav and Mamasha,do you know the expression`talking turkey ?It comes from too much bad pot,pork , liquor,vodka &selyodka bringing you into a state of `cold turkey`,so please,abstain from the abuse of these substances and get a rehab.Allah akbar and Putanin-even more akbar,but you are just plain simple minds.
In Response

by: messenger from: FR
September 10, 2012 12:21
Camel Anaturk: May your allah forgive you for your ignorant comments!

by: Hamik C Gregory from: Reno, NV USA
September 08, 2012 11:40
Poor Armenia officer who was murdered. He was sleeping and did not have weapons in his bed to defend itself!
Azerabayejanis got themselves a murderer as a hero. What a pathetic nation.

by: serouj from: lebanon
September 08, 2012 19:09
He killed someone with an axe while he slept? How brave is that?!

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
September 09, 2012 03:24
I feel sorry for Armenian officer. To bucher another human,
Being in sleep, terrible. But don't forget the bigger picture.
Parts of Georgia and Caucasus invaded by Russians,
Cleansing and repopulating by Russian creatures.

They softening EU, USA and NATO and provoke
By "oboroten's" in Dagestan and Georgia smoke
Preparing again platcdarm - Azerbaijan to invade.
Flat belly plain-ship to invade Caspea are waiting.

If "Hachik", hiding Azerbaijan's flag in his trousers,
Did it in agreement with Russian Hypno-Krausers
And one of them murdered, by "amoked" Safarov,
Have Caucasus be repopulated by Neanderthalov?

Russia is Great! For posting such critisizm in USA
They threaten and killing me and my mother, all life.
My mother was murdered 7/7/2012, by Russia-CIA,
As Russia, like Eugenio, puting "anti-American" elfs
On "Free Europe" - lying that it were my comments.

Staffed by Russia CIA blackmailed to kill my mother
If I posting "Anti-American" comments, would refuse
Be their Intellectual slave, of Bechtel-like plagiarizm.
If they capable to do that, how difficult is pull sceme,
Where Urartians for shear of loot would do a damn?

by: Ray from: Los Angeles, CA, USA
September 17, 2012 16:00
There are no words that can explain the hatred which has built up amongst these two nations. In due time, the volcano will erupt. Once it does, a lot of coffins will be laid onto the ground.

Here is something I came upon while researching the war in the the Caucus.

Matthew Bryza, who was the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group in 2005-2009 and served as a U.S. ambassador in Baku in 2011, was quoted by Reuters on Tuesday as saying that despite its massive defense spending Azerbaijan is still unable to regain control of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“The Azeris can’t retake Karabakh now. They are militarily incapable of doing it,” Bryza said.
“I don’t think they could dislodge the Armenian forces from the high ground. I think that’s extremely difficult.”
In Response

by: CJ from: Manhattan
September 19, 2012 14:44
I have been following this conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan for a while now. I remember couple years ago Bryza said that NK should be solved within the borders of Azerbaijan. I think its gonna be either a full scale war or an autonomy for Armenians within Azerbaijan, that seems the only options for Armenia and Azerbaijan. IMO that autonomy thing actually sounds pretty good. It includes an autonomy guarentee by the US and Russia, it includes a 60 billion investement plan by Baku, that more money Armenia will make in a century. So the either region will be fully redeveloped. Think about it, how else is Armenia gonna develop this disputed region?

by: Patrick from: NY
September 17, 2012 19:22
I think RFERL needs to stop making a fuzz about this case. People die and it happens. Azerbaijan made a dumb mistake, but equally dumb is Armenia which flared this single murder into an international scandal. Seriously people, we have bigger issues at our hands right now. Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Putin, China-Japan, just to name a few.

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