BAKU: Envoy surprised at reaction to Kazakh condolences to Armenia

Envoy surprised at Azeri reaction to Kazakh condolences to Armenia

Ekspress, Baku
20 Mar 04

Text of Alakbar Raufoglu report by Azerbaijani newspaper Ekspress on
20 March headlined “Astana’s letter of condolences” and subheaded
“Ambassador Andar Shukputov: ‘This is an ordinary protocol rule'”

The Kazakh ambassador to Azerbaijan, Andar Shukputov, cannot
understand why people in Baku ambiguously take the Astana government’s
condolences to Yerevan on the murder of Armenian officer Gurgen
Markaryan in Budapest.

“This move by the Kazakh Foreign Ministry is simply a protocol rule
and has no political significance,” Shukputov told Ekspress
yesterday. He believes that any conflict should be settled in a
civilized way. Astana, which has normal diplomatic relations both with
Baku and Yerevan, expects that the sides will “take steps that meet
international principles and norms” to settle the Nagornyy Karabakh

“Kazakhstan’s position has not changed,” Shukputov said. It is absurd
to link Astana’s letter of condolences to a change in Kazakhstan’s
position on the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict, he added. “We recognize
Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. According to President Nursultan
Nazarbayev, Astana supports the settlement of the problem only within
the framework of the principle of territorial integrity,” Shukputov