BAKU: KLO vows not to let Armenians attend NATO exercises

Azeri pressure group vows not to let Armenians attend NATO exercises

Ekho, Baku
3 Jul 04

Text of E. Alakbarov report by Azerbaijani newspaper Ekho on 3 July
headlined “‘No special attention is to be paid to the Armenians'” and
subheaded “The Karabakh Liberation Organization is to spare no efforts
to prevent the Armenian flag from being hoisted and the anthem from
being played in Azerbaijan in September”

As we have already reported, Armenian Defence Minister Serzh Sarkisyan
has said that seven Armenian officers will take part in the
Cooperative Best Effort-2004 exercises due in Baku in September 2004
within NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme. Meanwhile, talking
about the September exercises, the head of the Armenian delegation
which attended NATO’s planning conference in Baku, Col Murad
Isakhanyan, said that Armenia will take part in it as part of a
military element. The NATO leadership, he said, made an exception for
Armenia and did not impose restrictions on the number of its
representatives or on their ranks.

“In turn, Azerbaijan guarantees the security of our servicemen. The
Azerbaijani side assures us that even if only one representative comes
from Armenia, the Armenian flag will be hoisted and the anthem
played,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Karabakh Liberation Organization (KLO) has no intention
of giving up the struggle. KLO deputy chairman Samil Mehdi commented
on the Armenian officer’s utterances. “We have information that the
Armenians seriously intend to take part in NATO’s September
exercises,” he said. The Armenian side manages to derive benefit from
any situation, he said. “Yerevan manages to push forward its officers
who have the blood of Azerbaijani officers on their hands. The
Armenians also easily manage to provoke Azerbaijani society to
confrontation and as a result, Azerbaijan is being discredited in the
international arena,” he stressed.

“We always stick to our position. The KLO will take concrete steps if
the Armenian officers arrive in Baku in September,” he said.

Talking about the Armenian officer’s words that the Armenian flag will
be raised and the anthem played in Baku in September, he said that the
members of the organization will spare no efforts to prevent this from

“This is nasty, mendacious and vile Armenian swank,” the head of the
Azerbaijani Defence Ministry press service, Ramiz Malikov, said,
commenting on the Armenian officer’s words. “No special attention will
be paid to the Armenian officers,” he stressed.

He said that the Armenian officers are coming to Baku to “muddy the
waters”. He complained about the local media which exaggerates
reports about the Armenian officers’ arrival.