BAKU: US Envoy Plays Down Azeri Concern at Equal Aid to Baku/Yerevan


ANS TV, Baku
22 Jul 04

(Presenter in studio) Washington does not think that the issue of
equally treating a member of the anti-terror coalition, Azerbaijan,
and Russia’s closest strategic ally, Armenia, is important enough.

(Correspondent over footage of Washington, the White House, US
Ambassador to Azerbaijan Reno Harnish) The US ambassador to
Azerbaijan, Reno Harnish, has described as unfounded the Azerbaijani
government’s concerns over the US Congress’s decision to provide equal
military assistance to Azerbaijan and Armenia.

We are conducting military exercises with Azerbaijan in the Caspian
Sea and are training Azerbaijani officers. By and large, military
assistance is not hugely important, Interfax-Azerbaijan news agency
quoted the ambassador as saying.

By saying this, the ambassador indirectly confirms that Congress has
indeed allocated equal assistance to Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Let’s recall that Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, who
is currently visiting the United States, has described as surprising
the allocation of equal assistance to Azerbaijan, an active member of
the anti-terror coalition which sends its peacekeepers to different
hotbeds, and Armenia, which supports the coalition only in words.

According to Reno Harnish, the issue raised by Mammadyarov is part of
US-Azerbaijani military cooperation. The diplomat added that the
American administration supports the idea of increasing Azerbaijan’s
contingent in Iraq.

Incidentally, the chairman of the Azarbaycan Milli Istiqlal Party,
Etibar Mammadov, issued a statement today in connection with
Azerbaijani peacekeepers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If Washington really treats Baku and Yerevan equally, then Azerbaijan
should reconsider its involvement in the anti-terror coalition in such
dangerous places as Iraq and Afghanistan, end quote.

Ayaz Mirzayev, ANS.