NATO chief hopes officer’s killing not to threaten coop with Armenia

NATO chief hopes officer’s killing not to threaten cooperation with Armenia

Mediamax news agency
10 Mar 04


NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has sent a letter to
Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan in connection with the
killing of Armenian Lt Gurgen Markaryan by an Azerbaijani serviceman
in Budapest on 19 February.

The press service of the Armenian Foreign Ministry quotes the NATO
secretary-general as saying in the letter that he was “deeply shocked
by the brutal killing of the Armenian officer” and asked to pass his
sympathy to his family, Mediamax reports.

“As you know, relevant Hungarian agencies are conducting a detailed
investigation into the incident and I am convinced that they will do
their best to find out all the circumstances of the killing and to
make sure that justice is administered. I myself will follow the
course of the investigation and the subsequent trial,” Jaap de Hoop
Scheffer said.

The NATO secretary-general expressed the hope that this crime would
not pose a threat to the development of cooperation between Armenia
and the alliance and said that NATO appreciated Armenia’s contribution
to the Partnership for Peace programme. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer added
that the further expansion of regional cooperation in the South
Caucasus is one of the key components of the programme.

On 23 February, the Armenian ambassador to NATO, Vigen Chitechyan,
forwarded Vardan Oskanyan’s letter to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. The
Armenian foreign minister says in the letter that the Azerbaijani
officer’s action “was somewhat expected because it was a logical
consequence of bellicose statements by the previous and new
Azerbaijani authorities”.

[Passage omitted: Known details of the Budapest incident]