Novruz Mammadov: “Even one-day opening of the borders with Armenia in any form and essence can have serious negative impact on our relations with Turkey” – INTERVIEW

Novruz Mammadov: “Even one-day opening of the borders with Armenia in any form and essence can have serious negative impact on our relations with Turkey” – <font color=red>INTERVIEW </font>
# 26 August 2010 16:21 (UTC +04:00)
- What is your opinion about the prolongation of the rental agreement of the 102nd military base in Armenia and the protocol on the military-technical maintenance of Armenia between Russia and Armenia? What threats does this document entail for Azerbaijan?

- We are attentively following the processes taking place at the regional and international levels, studying its essence, analyzing and assessing it. I think that the protocol signed between Russia and Armenia will not create a serious concern for us after all. The fact is that this status-quo existed before also. It means that such mutual military assistance is envisaged between Russia and Armenia in the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Now, they are renewing and extending it. In this regard, the matter which attracts the main attention is linked to the fact that Russia promised to support openly Armenia and tried to substantiate its decision. But there are some issues arising from which surprise us. In the first place, the international community did not demonstrate any concrete and substantial position on this issue. The US State Department spokesman said that this is the cooperation between two countries. We understand it and do not intend to interfere in the bilateral cooperation issues between two countries. However, one of these two countries – Armenia – is the aggressor. Such level of support to the aggressor country is not in line with international law norms and principles. It is not hard to see what can stand behind an open support to such a state.

In the second place, Russia participates in the process of resolution of Nagorno Karabakh conflict assuming the neutral status. But it is very difficult to be an impartial mediator by making such statements and extending such support. All of these cannot be packed within the same framework. That’s the main issue.

- Is it expected to hold any discussions and clarify this issue during Russian President’s visit to Azerbaijan?

- May be, the more grounded attitude towards these issues will be demonstrated during the forthcoming visit of the President Dmitry Medvedev because the relations between Azerbaijan and Russia are at the highest level. I think that Azerbaijan is a very important state for Russia. From the strategic point of view, Azerbaijan is a very important state than Armenia to the matchless extent. In my opinion, if all these are taken into account, the processes must have a logical explanation. Certainly, we do not have such concern because we do not have any territorial claims against other country. But countless comments spread by the Armenian side every day, every hour compel us to think over that.

- Armenian defense minister declared that Russian military forces may defend Armenia in case of beginning the war in Nagorno Karabakh.

- I think that the agreement signed by Russia with Armenia, modernization of Russian military base can create threats not only for Azerbaijan. If the Armenian side considers Nagorno Karabakh as its own, then it is a big mistake. Nagorno Karabakh has never been and will never be a part of Armenia. If Armenia wants to involve Russia in the war in the Nagorno Karabakh, then it will be a second big mistake.

- Armenia violates once again the quota envisaged in the flank agreement of CFE Treaty. What is being done to investigate the violations of weaponry quota by Armenia?

- The violation of this quota by Armenia worries Azerbaijan. It means that Armenia does not attach any importance to the international agreements. It thinks that it may violate any legal act it wants. The violation of the balance of conventional weaponry by Armenia exists since the old days. If this step is continued to be taken today, then the main organizers and sides to this Treaty must express their attitude, give analysis and evaluate it. We are waiting for investigations in this regard. Such matters are not left without a feedback. Unfortunately, the main organizers of the flank agreement keep silence still.

- Let’s be back to the US Department of State’s unexpected statement on this issue. Does it mean that America reconciles with the hegemony of Russia in the South Caucasus?

- We have established our relations with all states at the basis of principles of full confidence and sincerity and conduct our cooperation and partnership in accordance with these principles. But unfortunately, we cannot always see adequate reaction to it. The US says it has big interests in the South Caucasus. One of the results of my conclusions and observations is that the West and Europe, the leading states of the world pay all their efforts to support and help the aggressor state - Armenia and try to make it in consistent and systematic way. They do not even refrain from demonstrating it openly. On the one hand, they reconcile with the aggressive policy of Armenia, and on the other hand, assist this country within the framework of the planned exercises by making advances to Armenia. The issue of opening of the Turkish-Armenian border in NATO exercises in Armenia from September 11 till 17 is an example.

- We would like to know your opinion on the issue of opening of the Turkish-Armenian border during NATO exercises. How it will influence Azerbaijani-Turkish relations if it happens?

- I think the main aim of this step is that the Western countries want to create indirectly an opportunity for opening of the Turkish-Armenian border and oblige Turkey to do it. The question is that Armenia has not been the state which cooperated closely with NATO. I think the exercises that will be attended by Turkey and Armenia have been well planned and designed before. By this way, they want to confront Azerbaijan and Turkey which are friends, brothers and strategic partners. They have been continuing to take these steps for awhile. We also see that. The question is that Turkey itself is put before a test. Turkey’s position against aggressor Armenia has been the main line of the relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey since Azerbaijan gained its independence. This policy is still continuing. But the circles that do not like this policy put Azerbaijan and Armenia on various sides of the scales in front of Turkey in order to disturb the position of Ankara. No matter how it is called, the opening of the border is the same for us. Even one-day opening of the borders with Armenia in any form and essence can have serious negative impact on our relations. I see some circles are making efforts for it. We want Turkey to pass successfully the challenge of these circles. There is another moment here. Armenia dictates openly its position to Turkey by putting forward its conditions and wants to realize them. I think Turkey will express its adequate position on it and will not allow opening of the border even for an hour.

- Armenia is the member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. It does not have close relations with NATO. How important can such exercises be for the Alliance in this context?

- Actually this is just a political trick for NATO. Holding a small event in Armenia cannot be important in the life of the Alliance. If NATO and Western states want to take care for this state and demonstrate fair approach, then they should not take such steps and make Turkey to do it seeing the situation in the region. NATO says this is a disaster response exercise. NATO started to think about it just now, while Azerbaijan was the first to give aid to Armenia when earthquake happened there. Our plane crashed at that time, dozens of persons died.

I wish to note also that nowadays every state is struggling and competing for its interests. This is natural. But unfortunately, the majority of these states run to extremes in the struggle for their interests. They should understand that running to extremes has the revolving effect and finally creates problems for themselves. History has shown it several times, including the 20th century, and I think the 21st century is not an exception.