Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s emotional reaction of to the words of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about foreign mercenaries in Nagorno-Karabakh is unclear to Moscow, TASS quotes a source in the Foreign Ministry as saying.
“To be honest, we do not quite understand the emotional reaction of respected Ilham Aliyev to Sergey Lavrov’s comments,” the agency’s interlocutor said. “Maybe the presidential aides showed him someone else’s material, or presented their own interpretation.”
The source recalled the exact quote from Lavrov’s interview to the Kommersant newspaper on November 3: “We are, of course, concerned about the internationalization of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the involvement of militants from the Middle East. We have repeatedly called on external players to use their capabilities to suppress the transfer of mercenaries, whose numbers are already approaching two thousand. This topic, in particular, was raised by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 27, in regular contacts with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia. We persistently continue to promote our position through various channels.”
“As you can see, there are no reproaches in the commentary either against Azerbaijan or any other country,” the agency’s interlocutor continued.
The interlocutor of the agency noted that Moscow has always approached its role as a mediator with the utmost care. “President Aliyev himself has repeatedly stated this. We reaffirm our commitment to promoting a peaceful, political and diplomatic settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. At the same time, we remain convinced that the penetration of mercenary militants into the Caucasus threatens the stability and security of all countries in the region, including Azerbaijan and Russia,” the interlocutor summed up.
Commenting on Lavrov’s statements, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said: “I, frankly speaking, regret that high ranking officials of the countries which are supposed to be neutral and are supposed to be acting within their mandate that was given to them by the OSCE use this unverified, groundless so-called information and rumors.”
“Second, we do not have any mercenaries. I have said it many times. We do not need them. We have an army with 100,000 fighters and we can recruit several times more if we announce total mobilization, which we don’t do, unlike Armenia. There is no evidence of any foreign fighters fighting on our side. No evidence during this time,” Aliyev stated in an interview with Spanish EFE,