BAKU: Azeri Armed forces ready to develop coop with US armed forces

Azer Tag, Azerbaijan
April 6 2004

[April 06, 2004, 23:17:50]

On 6 April, defense minister of Azerbaijan, colonel-general Safar
Abiyev met wit the US ambassador to Azerbaijan Mr. Reno Harnish,
defense minister’s press service told AzerTAj.

Greeting the Ambassador, the defense minister highlighted on his
visit to the United States. He, in particular, expressed his consent
with the step-by-step settlement of the Nagorny Karabakh conflict
proposed by the US defense minister D. Ramsfeld during his meeting
and creation by Congressman Kurt Weldon of the `Koros’ working group
to support Azerbaijan.

Colonel-general Safar Abiyev exchanged views with Mr. Reno Harnish on
his other meetings as well, and noting that he was satisfied with
conclusions of the visit in the whole, said: `The Armed Forces of
Azerbaijan are always ready to develop cooperation with the US Armed

Ambassador Reno Harnish congratulated the defense minister on his
successful visit, noting that this visit serves the interests of both
countries and therefore is useful.

Then, the Ambassador and the defense minister had comprehensive
exchange of views on the prospects of the US-Azerbaijan military
links. Ambassador Reno Harnish expressed his satisfaction with the
proposals of the US defense minister D. Ramsfeld on step-by-step
settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, saying that the US
co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group Rudolph Perina would be replaced
with Ambassador Steve Mann. We are convinced that he will give new
impetus to the negotiations, the Ambassador stressed.

Touching upon the activity of the units of the Azerbaijan Armed
Forces in the peacemaking operations, colonel-general Safar Abiyev
said that the Azerbaijan side, as a member of the anti-terror
coalition, is going to continue participation at these operations and
keeps under control activity of these units.

Parties have also dwelt on the preparation process of the
`Cooperative Best Effort-04′ field trainings due in Baku current year
and ways of resolution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.

Colonel-general Safar Abiyev said: ` In settlement of the Nagorny
Karabakh conflict, the justice cannot serve the aggressor. The
justice is: the occupied lands of Azerbaijan should be liberated’.

Ambassador Reno Harnish stated: `We want to reach peaceful and long
term settlement of the conflict. On your return from the United
States, you have stated that the war can begin in every moment’.

Colonel-general Safar Abiyev said: `Internal situation in Armenia is
very tense. In case of losing control over the situation, the leaders
of Armenian state can begin the war. Besides, they think of how to
impede construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. As a
defense minister, I see it and warn the public. We must be always
ready to defend territorial integrity of our state’.