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Azerbaijani Official Says Sarkisian Statements 'Nonsensical'

BAKU -- A top adviser to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev says recent statements by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian about the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory are "nonsensical" and "unpresidential," RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.
Novruz Mammedov, head of the Foreign Affairs Department in Aliyev's administration, told RFE/RL in an exclusive interview on August 31 that Sarkisian's attempt to compare the situation in the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh to the recognition of South Sudan as the world's newest country "does not correspond to international law or a realistic understanding of the political situation."
Sarkisian said at an annual meeting of Armenian ambassadors in Yerevan on August 30 that "this year we have witnessed South Sudan obtain independence after decades of struggle, making another successful precedent of self-determination in world history."
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on July 9 in a process determined by the signing of a peace agreement and a referendum on statehood that was supported by the United Nations.
Sarkisian added that the "same solution" for Karabakh was "inevitable, although today I cannot speak of any softening of Azerbaijan's position in the negotiation process."
Mammedov said that "on one side Sarkisian is conducting negotiations, but on the other he is making this kind of nonsensical statement. Lately he has been making a lot of unpresidential statements. This is his tragedy and sooner or later Sarkisian will get an adequate response to his behavior."
Mammedov also responded to Sarkisian's statement that in case of a military conflict over Karabakh, Armenia would "not hesitate to force the enemy to ask for peace."
"This is Armenia's biggest worry," Mammedov said. "Because [the Armenians] know sooner or later Azerbaijan will get its territory back. Under the current geopolitical conditions Armenia is not going to be able to preserve its [military] advantage over the long term."
Mammedov also rejected Yerevan's claim, reiterated by Sarkisian on August 30, that Azerbaijan is blocking the negotiation process over Karabakh. He said such talk is "a product of Armenian propoganda."
"Everybody can see that Azerbaijan is engaged in negotiations with the aim of liberating its territories," Mammedov said. "Armenia is using its diaspora and some other supporters to put the blame on Azerbaijan. What can Azerbaijan do [against that]?"
Sarkisian said on August 30 that "despite Azerbaijan's destructive position, Armenia will continue its efforts toward an exclusively peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that would comply with international law and be based on principles recognized by the United Nations."
He also said Armenia hoped to see a "a shift" in Turkey's approach to relations with Yerevan and its stance on Karabakh after the upcoming parliamentary elections in Turkey.
But he added, "To be honest, the last two months have not given any reason for
Armenian forces fought a bloody war with Azerbaijan from 1991-94 for control over Nagorno-Karabakh, which had a mainly ethnic Armenian population. Armenian forces also control large Azerbaijani territories adjoining Karabakh.