Agence France Presse
March 11, 2004 Thursday
Murder scandal to impact Karabakh peace talks: Armenia
An Azeri officer’s alleged murder of an Armenian colleague during a
NATO training course in Hungary will affect the talks between the two
countries over the separatist enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian
President Robert Kocharyan said.
“This is a disgrace for every country and society. Anti-Armenian
phobia found its physical outlet,” Kocharyan told students at
Yerevan’s university Wednesday, adding that “this murder will
certainly impact the talks.”
Armenian Lieutenant Gurgen Markarian was hacked to death with an axe
while he slept in a student dormitory in the Hungarian capital,
Police there have arrested Azeri officer Lieutenant Ramil Safarov,
who was studying alongside Markarian, in connection with the killing.
Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a war between 1989 and 1994 over
Nagorno-Karabakh, in the course of which about 35,000 people were
killed on both sides and over a million had to flee their homes.
A ceasefire was agreed in 1994, by which time Armenian forces had won
control of the mostly Armenian populated enclave within Azerbaijan.
But Azerbaijan has vowed to regain control and the two sides are
still formally at war.
Armenia attributed the murder to the “anti-Armenian hysteria” fanned
by the Azeri government, while Azeri officials countered that the
alleged killer was himself a refugee from the conflict with Armenia
and that the victim had taunted him over the conflict.
The murder in Budapest has unleashed a new round of verbal sparring
between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which are still locked in a tense