Interviewed in the latest issue of the liberal Russian weekly “Obshchaya gazeta,” Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiev made public Baku’s goal of a “special partnership, to be formalized in a bilateral agreement, between Azerbaijan and NATO.” Defining Azerbaijan as a “constitutive element of the new Europe,” the three-star general announced his country’s “intention to use every opportunity to increase its role in European integration processes, particularly in the activity of security structures.” In that context, Baku seeks a bilateral alliance with Turkey as a pro-Western counterbalance to the Russian-Armenian alliance.
Abiev focused on the dangerous accumulation of Russian weaponry in Karabakh and in the six additional districts controlled by Armenian forces in Azerbaijan proper. Those arsenals, “unaccounted-for equipment” in terms of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, escapes verification under that treaty because, Abiev said, “international inspection teams have practically no opportunity to monitor Karabakh and the six districts. Unaccounted-for arms flow there from Russia as if into a dark hole.” Abiev, furthermore, expressed concern over possible use of those Armenian-held areas as sanctuaries for Kurdish guerrilla groups operating against Turkey (Obshchaya gazeta, February 11-17; see also item below).
KURDISH MILITANTS EMERGE IN ARMENIA.