Must be no return to conflict Armenia/Azerbaijan. Tensions must be reduced & steps taken to promote regional cooperation & reconciliation— AndersFogh Rasmussen (@AndersFoghR) September 6, 2012
I am deeply concerned by the Azerbaijani decision to pardon officer Safarov. Act he committed was terrible crime and should not be glorified— AndersFogh Rasmussen (@AndersFoghR) September 6, 2012
Dangerous situation developing between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Everyone must now show restraint. And responsibility.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Dat…— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) September 3, 2012
Sentenced to life in Hungary for killing an Armenian, Safarov pardon is in conflict with efforts to ease tensions in the region— MFA Russia (@MFA_Russia) September 3, 2012
As co-chair of the #OSCE Minsk Group on Nagorny Karabakh, Russia is concerned about Baku’s pardon of Safarov who killed an Armenian officer— MFA Russia (@MFA_Russia) September 3, 2012
In House: RFE/RL's Daisy Sindelar and Arifa Kazimova on all the different flash points in the Safarov case:excerpt:
Erkin Gaderli, a lawyer and a member of the Republican Alternative opposition group, says he believes "no one" in Azerbaijan "seriously" thinks of Safarov as a hero.
But at the same time, he acknowledges that ordinary Azerbaijanis are confounded by the continued deadlock over Nagorno-Karabakh, and have fallen into a tit-for-tat relationship with Armenia, with each side looking to best the other on even insignificant issues.
"There is an emotion growing in society, and it's a reflection of a deep frustration with the conflict in the occupied territories," Gaderli says. "And there is a growing expectation that somehow, someday this must come to an end. Many people think that something needs to be done in response to Armenia. So whatever Armenia has done, for good or for bad, should somehow be retaliated." [read full piece]
Around the web...
For Ianyan, Liana Aghajanian pulls the facts together:
The Scary Azeri is unimpressed:
VIDEO: RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service gets reactions from Azerbaijan
Via Al Jazeera:
The online embrace of Safarov reflects the heartache of Azerbaijan's history as well as the ways digital media can strengthen dictatorship. The people spread the cause and the government reaps the glory. [read the full piece]
Via the BBC:
If there is any silver lining to this dark episode it could be that the international community pays more attention to the dangers of a new Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The conflict is not "frozen," as it is frequently described. [read the full piece]
Via The Economist:
Hungary, Armenia and the axe-murderer: Blunder in Budapest | The Economist econ.st/OL8On1— Edward Lucas (@edwardlucas) September 5, 2012
But it seems that the Safarov affair was masterminded by Viktor Orbán, the prime minister, and Péter Szijjártó, the minister for external economic relations, rather than the foreign ministry.
The extradition also raises questions about the EU’s credibility. It has just pledged €19.5 million ($25m) to reform oil-rich Azerbaijan’s justice and migration systems. So far, Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative, has expressed only a tepid statement of “concern”. [read the full piece]
New post: Guest Post: Hungarian-Azeri-Armenian Relations: The Axe Factor - registan.net/OR3— Registan.net (@registan_net) September 4, 2012
What changed in-between
In a nutshell, Azerbaijan became very important, for Hungary as well as for others. By the time Ramil Safarov decided to kill his Armenian schoolmate, plans for what is widely known now as the Nabucco pipeline were already being considered. Caucasian developments slowly paved the way for such a project to seem feasible, and this prompted a wave of engagements in the field energy diplomacy by hitherto passive players, including Eastern European countries facing the problem of one-sided dependence on Russian natural gas imports.
Safarov became very important, too. Zahid Oruj, a member of the Azerbaijani parliament’s national security committee now claims that the chief reason for the opening of an Azerbaijani embassy in Budapest was to defend Safarov’s interests and expedite his release. Azeri diplomats did indeed work hard on this. On numerous occasions they requested Safarov’s extradition, only to be turned down. [read the full piece]