ALIEV SAYS NO TO RUSSIAN ARMS.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 62
President Haidar Aliev yesterday revealed that Russia has recently offered to supply Azerbaijan with weapons equivalent to those that Russia is in the process of deploying in Armenia–namely, MiG-29 interceptor aircraft and S-300 surface-to-air missiles. Aliev made the disclosure during talks with Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov in Baku. It was not immediately clear just when Russia made the offer, but it seemed probable that it came up during Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Leonid Drachevsky’s talks with Aliev last week in Baku.
Aliev expressed astonishment and rejected the offer: “Does Russia have so much weaponry that it can deliver it everywhere? Here in the Caucasus, in our complicated situation, we must disarm, not arm…. Russia must not provide military support either to Armenia or to Azerbaijan, and has no reason to keep Russian troops in the South Caucasus.” Aliev reaffirmed Azerbaijan’s demand that Russia discontinue arms deliveries to Armenia and repatriate the hardware deployed there in recent years (Turan, March 29).
At least two tantalizing questions remain unanswered for the moment. First, whether Russia’s arms offer was tied to a proposal to establish a military base in Azerbaijan, considering that the MiGs and the S-300s in Armenia are being deployed at Russian bases there. And second, whether Armenia had consented to the arming of Azerbaijan, or–as would seem more likely–whether Armenia’s own interests were treated as expendable by Moscow (see Karabakh item above).
SIX TURKIC COUNTRIES CLOSE RANKS ON INTELLIGENCE FRONT.