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March 14, 2016

Azerbaijani Official Samir Sharifov Accused of Spying

Azerbaijani official Samir Sharifov accused of spying

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Monday, March 14, 2016

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Azerbaijan Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov allegedly worked as a “triple agent” for Russian, Turkish, and US intelligence agencies, according to a report by Ukrainian online newspaper Gordon last Wednesday.

Sharifov allegedly worked as a human asset for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service before Turkish intelligence recruited him in South Yemen in 1989–1990. Soon after, he allegedly began working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In the Gordon article, their source ascribed this information to “sources in the Russian intelligence community” who said, “[Russia’s] agencies penetrated the U.S. intelligence community and obtained important information about some of its human assets.”

The claims made in the article have not been verified, according to Russian newspaper Нефть России((ru)).

Mais Piriyev, press secretary for the Azerbaijan Ministry of Finance, said Sharifov would not comment on what Piriyev called provocative, ridiculous claims. Piriyev told reporters, “Lack of seriousness in Yuri Shvet‘s claims can be seen immediately. Only three countries? Where [is] Mossad, special services of the UK and other countries?”

Former Azerbaijani diplomat Arif Mammadov has publicly supported the accusations. In a statement on social media, Mammadov wrote, “The country has a very powerful network that is working against the state. It consists of the most influential people — ministers, deputy ministers, senior representatives of the presidential administration.”

The Gordon article was published on the eve of Sharifov’s trip to the United States to discuss financing for the Southern Gas Corridor energy project.



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April 12, 2014

Spain\’s men remain on top of FIFA global rankings for April 2014

Spain’s men remain on top of FIFA global rankings for April 2014

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

File photo of Spanish international Diego Costa playing for Atletico Madrid
Image: Carlos Delgado.

The latest FIFA global rankings were published on Thursday. While there were changes for eight of the top ten ranked teams, the Spanish team‘s top ranking remained unchanged. Germany‘s rank of number two also remained unchanged. All the teams are all-male, with women ranked separately.

Portugal, Colombia and Uruguay each moved up one to be ranked third, fourth and fifth respectively. Argentina dropped three places to be ranked sixth, tied in the rank with Brazil who moved up three. Switzerland and Italy each moved down one, ranked eighth and ninth respectively. Greece moved up three to be ranked tenth.

Azerbaijan is ranked the highest in the team’s history at 85th, up six from the previous rankings published in March. Afghanistan is the second team in this ranking to have a team best ranking with a 122nd ranking, up 5 from the previous ranking period. Scotland was the biggest mover in this ranking period, climbing 15 spots for a ranking of 22. Liberia had the biggest drop, moving down 22 spots to 119. This was down only one more team than New Zealand who dropped 21 spots to be ranked 111.

Later this year, Spain is scheduled to play the Netherlands, Chile and Australia at the 2014 FIFA World Cup during pool play. The Netherlands dropped four places to be ranked fifteenth. Australia rose four places to be ranked 59th. Chile rose one place to be ranked fourteenth.

Several members of the Spanish national team are currently scheduled to play in the 2013–14 UEFA Champions League semi-finals, including Diego Costa, Koke and David Villa who play for Atletico Madrid and Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas, Álvaro Arbeloa, Nacho, Xabi Alonso, Isco.



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October 14, 2013

Opposition rally in Baku ends in violent arrests

Opposition rally in Baku ends in violent arrests

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Azerbaijan-Baku

Approximately four thousand people rallied in an anti-government protest in Baku, Azerbaijan on Saturday.

The protest took place on the outskirts of the city to oppose alleged electoral fraud during the most recent presidential election that returned President Ilham Aliyev to office for his third consecutive term. The protesters accused the government of voter intimidation and ballot stuffing, and were rallying in a demand for a new poll.

Although the protest had been initially approved by authorities, police began to use violence against protesters when scuffles broke out amongst the group.

According to Reuters, some protesters were beaten and detained by police. Interfax-Azerbaijan reported approximately 10 people were detained during the protest.



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January 8, 2013

Three cities submit bids for 2020 Summer Olympics

Three cities submit bids for 2020 Summer Olympics

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The bidding cities for the 2020 Olympic Games (Baku, Doha, Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo) are represented by red dots, and their respective countries (Azerbaijan, Qatar, Turkey, Spain and Japan) are filled in in black.
Image: Kartin.

Yesterday in Lausanne, Switzerland, three cities, Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid, submitted their official bid books to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as part of their efforts to secure the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics for their cities.

The books contain each city’s plans for the Games as they relate to key hosting aspects such as venues, budgets, financial guarantees, security, accommodations, and transportation. These are scheduled to be made public today. The host city is to be named on September 7 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, where a new IOC President is also to be chosen. All the bids are being viewed against a backdrop of the global economic downturn, with hosting costs and the national economy possibly playing a role in voter decision-making.

Baku in Azerbaijan and Doha in Qatar took part in the first stage of the bid process but were eliminated from contention in May at a meeting of the IOC’s Executive Board in Quebec City, Canada. Rome had considered a bid but withdrew early in the process because of Italian economic concerns. An IOC report said Istanbul’s bid “offers good potential” while Madrid had “a strong application” and Tokyo had “a very strong application.”

A sign in Tokyo supporting their 2020 Olympic bid
Image: 高木あゆみ.

Bookmakers have given Tokyo best odds to receive the Games at 4/6 compared to 5/2 for Istanbul and 3/1 for Madrid. Tokyo’s bid delegation included a member of the women’s FIFA World Cup champions Homare Sawa, 2008 Summer Paralympics swimming gold medalist Takayuki Suzuki, President of Tokyo 2020 and Japanese Olympic Committee Tsunekazu Takeda, bid chief executive Masato Mizuno, senior director for planning for sports at Tokyo 2020 Katsura Enyo, and a member of the Executive Board for Tokyo’s bid Yasuhiro Nakamori. Tokyo last hosted the Olympics in 1964 and had previously won the rights to host the later canceled 1940 Summer Olympics. This is their second consecutive bid, having lost to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Bid organizers believe the Games would be an uplifting force for a country still recovering from a natural disaster in 2011. A possible complication to Tokyo’s bid is territorial disputes with China.

Sawa is quoted by Inside the Games, an Olympic and Paralympics news site, saying, “I want to feel that deeply moving spirit from the London Games once again in Tokyo, […] I want to do all I can.”

Takeda is quoted by Inside the Games saying of the bid, “With tremendous support from people in Tokyo and across Japan, we have celebrated a memorable milestone today with the submission of our Candidature file, […] Based on lessons from our bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we have retained the best of that bid plan while adding important new strengths. Now that our Candidature file is complete, Tokyo is one step closer to implementing an innovative and inspiring Games plan. The Games in 2020 in Tokyo will offer athletes, spectators and Olympic and Paralympic family members a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Most of the infrastructure for a Tokyo Games has been built, which assists in keeping costs down as the world economy is a potential concern for financing the Games. Takeda remarked, “Many of our venues are in place; most of the games infrastructure is in place and the $4.5 billion budget to complete these tasks is already in the bank.” Despite Tokyo’s positive early response from the IOC, there is no guarantee the city will be selected as previous early favourites have failed to win hosting rights when it came down to the final vote. Amongst possible concerns, their bid could be undermined by South Korea’s hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Istanbul are bidding for the fifth time, with this bid viewed as their most competitive and serious one to date. Their bid was presented by the city’s mayor, Kadir Topbaş, the bid leader Hasan Arat, President of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey and president of the World Archery Federation Uğur Erdener, Deputy Undersecretary of the Minister of Youth and Sports Yavuz Çelik, and general director of sports for Istanbul 2020 Mehmet Baykan. Their bid calls for the largest Opening Ceremonies in Olympic Games history, with a ceremony on the European and Asian banks of the Bosphorus involving a half million people. Istanbul’s bid calls for events to be held on two continents, which the bid organizers believe gives them an advantage of Madrid and Japan, as this fits within the framework of the Olympic ideal. That they have not hosted the Games previously is another potential positive as the most recent successful bids for the Olympic and Paralympic Games were in cities that had never hosted them before. Turkey’s bid is bolstered by having successfully hosted the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics and the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships last year. The strength of the Turkish economy is also seen as a positive with their bid going forward. Their bid is hurt by ongoing disputes with Syria that has resulted in 150,000 Syrian refugees living on the Turkish side of the border.

Atatürk Olympic Stadium/Atatürk Olimpiyat Stadı in Istanbul
Image: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen (Uspn).

Arat is quoted by Inside the Games on the bid saying, “This milestone is the latest step in our 20-year journey to win the honour of hosting the Games, […] For the very first time, our desire to host the Games is matched by our capacity. We have been learning and evolving every step of the way, and today we are submitting a brand new and dramatically enhanced Games concept. Istanbul 2020 has a technically outstanding master plan and delivery structure, and we would grab the world’s attention with a breathtaking setting and a series of groundbreaking firsts, such as being the first ever Games held in two continents simultaneously. Now is the time for Istanbul; now we are ready to deliver.”

Istabul’s mayor Topbaş arrived at the last minute to assist in the bid submission despite bad winter weather in Istanbul. Quoted by Inside the Games, he said of the city’s bid, “Today is a historic moment for Istanbul and the Turkish nation, […] Istanbul 2020 is the first sports bid in Turkish history to have been officially launched by the Prime Minister, and it has been identified as a strategic national priority. As such, this bid has the unequivocal backing of every level of Government. […] The Games would enhance Istanbul’s growing global status as a place to visit, do business and, increasingly, stage world-class sport, […] We are all aligned behind our shared vision: hosting the Games for the first time would be the defining achievement in nearly 100 years of the Republic of Turkey.”

Madrid’s bid comes at a time when the Spanish economy is in the middle of a second recession where unemployment hovers around 25 per cent and on the heels of two previous failed bids. Bid organizers believe the Games could serve as an economic driver for the country. Juan Antonio Samaranch Salisachs, International Triathlon Union President and IOC member Marisol Casado, International Canoe Federation President and IOC member José Perurena López, Madrid mayor Ana Botella, Madrid’s bid leader and the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee Alejandro Blanco, President of the Sports Council Miguel Cardenal, the Councillor for Education, Sports and Youth with the Madrid Regional Government Lucia Figar, and two-time Olympic gold medal sailor Theresa Zabell were part of the Madrid bid delegation. In submitting their bid, they gave a half-hour presentation to the IOC’s head of Bid City Relations Jacqueline Barrett and Executive Director of the Olympic Games Gilbert Felli.

Comité Olímpico Español headquarters in Madrid
Image: Luis García (Zaqarbal).

Madrid’s mayor is quoted by Inside the Games on the bid as “a project the whole country is behind and a dream for all Spaniards […] The proof can be seen in the fact that three levels of Government are represented here — the city, the regional and the national. We are here to give our support to the countless people who are working for and believe in Madrid’s Olympic aspirations.”

Like Tokyo, much of the sport-related infrastructure for a Madrid-hosted Games already exists. This would keep infrastructure costs down and make the Games more affordable for Spain. Their bid is the least expensive of all the submitted bids. London’s recent hosting of the Games is seen as potentially harmful to their bid because two Games in Europe within only a few Olympic cycles runs counter to traditional Games hosting.

The IOC’s Evaluation Commission is scheduled to visit each city in March, with their first scheduled visit starting March 4 in Tokyo, then starting March 18 in Madrid and wrapping up their city visits starting March 24 in Istanbul. Following their visits, the Commission is to write and submit a report to IOC membership by July 4 to assist voters in making their decision.



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December 2, 2012

Leaked Syrian government emails indicate weapons supplied to Hamas

Leaked Syrian government emails indicate weapons supplied to Hamas

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

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Emails allegedly hacked from Syrian government accounts, leaked onto the Internet, indicate Iran and Syria are supplying weapons made in Ukraine and Belarus to Hamas in Palestine.

One of the leaked letters from the Syrian Embassy in Tehran, requesting Iranian tourist visas for the Syrian Ambassador’s brother and son, who have Romanian citizenship.
Image: Syrian Embassy.

The online activist group known as Anonymous takes responsibility for the leak, which comprises over 2,000 emails and other files totaling around 1 gigabyte. The leak is part of Anonymous’ ongoing campaign known as ‘#OpSyria’ or ‘Operation Syria’ on the social networking website Twitter.

On Monday at 2030 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), ‘Par:AnoIA,’ one of many Twitter accounts connected to Anonymous, stated that the group would “release a stash of Syrian Government emails in the next 24h, featuring Kofi Annan correspondence, cash & weapon deliveries.” Three hours later the same user announced a leak of “1 Gigabyte [of] internal emails from [the] Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs” onto the internet.

The first email leaked was called a “teaser”, from the Syrian embassy in Tehran on November 20, to the British embassy in Belarus. In the communique, the embassy confirms the Iranians are supplying helicopters and Ukrainian made weapons to Hamas, which operates mostly from the Gaza Strip in Palestine. “1.2D projectiles of Ukraine origin found in Egypt and Syria” are some of the weapons being sent to Palestine along with “EC725 Helicopters“.

“Since 2008 Iran is the main transit point for Palestine armament”, says the email. It also goes on to say the weapons are made in Ukraine as part of “2008 arms trade operations sanctioned by The [Ukrainian] Minister of Defense Anatoly Gritsenko.

Although evidence could suggest Iran’s willingness to supply arms to Hamas, in a report compiled on November 2, by the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Iran is trying to stop weapons from being sent into Syria for the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The report quotes Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who called for the FSA “to lay down their arms to be able to deliver their demands to the Syrian government.”((ar)) In regards to the civil war in Syria, Khamenei went on to say that if outside entities “were to provide the opponents in every country of weapons from outside the country, it is natural that the regime responds to opponents”((ar)).

This is not the first time Anonymous has hacked into Syrian government email accounts. In February, the group hacked into 78 Syrian government email accounts and leaked the usernames and passwords associated with them. The accounts accessed reportedly belonged to aides of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. One of the leaked emails, allegedly written by a press aide at Syria’s mission at the UN in New York named Sheherazad Jaafari, talks about Assad’s preparation for a December 2011 television interview with ABC NewsBarbara Walters. In it, Jaafari wrote about ways the Syrian president might be able to manipulate the television audience.

“The American audience doesn’t really care about reforms. They won’t understand it and they are not interested to do so…. American Psyche can be easily manipulated when they hear that there are ‘mistakes’ done and now we are ‘fixing it.’ … Its[sic] worth mentioning also what is happening now in Wall Street [Occupy Wall Street] and the way the demonstrations are been suppressed by police men, police dogs and beatings,” wrote Jaafari.



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November 27, 2012

Leaked Syrian government emails indicate weapons supplied to Hamas, massive cash transfers

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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Emails allegedly hacked from Syrian government accounts, leaked onto the Internet, indicate Iran and Syria are supplying Ukrainian made weapons to the Palestinian group Hamas.

One of the leaked letters from the Syrian Embassy in Tehran, requesting Iranian tourist visas for the Syrian Ambassador’s brother and son, who have Romanian citizenship.
Image: Syrian Embassy.

The online activist group known as Anonymous takes responsibility for the leak, which comprises over 2,000 emails and other files totaling around 1 gigabyte. The leak is part of Anonymous’ ongoing campaign known as ‘#OpSyria’ or ‘Operation Syria’ on the social networking website Twitter.

On Monday at 2030 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), ‘Par:AnoIA,’ one of many Twitter accounts connected to Anonymous, stated that the group would “release a stash of Syrian Government emails in the next 24h, featuring Kofi Annan correspondence, cash & weapon deliveries.” Three hours later the same user announced a leak of “1 Gigabyte [of] internal emails from [the] Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs” onto the internet.

The first email leaked was called a “teaser”, from the Syrian embassy in Tehran on November 20, to the British embassy in Belarus. In the communique, the embassy confirms the Iranians are supplying Ukrainian made weapons and other materials to Hamas, which operates mostly from the Gaza Strip in Palestine.

“Since 2008 Iran is the main transit point for Palestine armament”, says the email. It also goes on to say the weapons are made in Ukraine as part of “2008 arms trade operations sanctioned by The [Ukrainian] Minister of Defense Anatoly Gritsenko”.

The email also alleges that the Iranian government requested use of Belarus airspace to transport arms and other material to Hamas from Ukraine. The Iranian government made the request because they fear outside involvement. They believe that some within the Ukrainian military, “people … outside Syria” and “abroad” are attempting to interfere and help fund the manufacturing and shipment of weapons through “offshore companies controlled by the former high rank military command of Ukraine”.

Although evidence could suggest Iran’s willingness to supply arms to Hamas, in a report compiled on November 2, by the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Iran is trying to stop weapons from being sent into Syria for the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The report quotes Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who called for the FSA “to lay down their arms to be able to deliver their demands to the Syrian government.”((ar)) In regards to the civil war in Syria, Khamenei went on to say that if outside entities “were to provide the opponents in every country of weapons from outside the country, it is natural that the regime responds to opponents”((ar)).

This is not the first time Anonymous has hacked into Syrian government email accounts. In February, the group hacked into 78 Syrian government email accounts and leaked the usernames and passwords associated with them. One of those accounts accessed belonged to an aide of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. One of the leaked emails, allegedly written by a press aide at Syria’s mission at the UN in New York named Sheherazad Jaafari, talks about Assad’s preparation for a December 2011 television interview with ABC NewsBarbra Walters. In it, Jaafari wrote about ways the Syrian president might be able to manipulate the television audience.

“The American audience doesn’t really care about reforms. They won’t understand it and they are not interested to do so. American Psyche can be easily manipulated when they hear that there are ‘mistakes’ done and now we are ‘fixing it.’ Its [sic] worth mentioning also what is happening now in Wall Street [Occupy Wall Street] and the way the demonstrations are been suppressed by police men, police dogs and beatings,” wrote Jaafari.



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September 10, 2012

Hellen Saohaga\’s London performance second best for Solomon Islands at Olympics, Paralympics

Hellen Saohaga’s London performance second best for Solomon Islands at Olympics, Paralympics

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Hellen Saohaga at the Paralympic Village on Friday
Image: Laura Hale.

The Solomon Islands during the Opening Ceremony, with Saohaga as flag-bearer
Image: Laura Hale.

London, England — When Solomon Islander Hellen Saohaga finished fifteenth in Saturday’s women’s shot put – F57/58, she set a personal best and became the second-highest finishing Solomon Islander ever in Olympic and Paralympic competition; only Olympic powerlifter Wendy Hale has bettered her performance, coming twelfth in competition at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Saohaga qualified for this year’s Paralympics on the basis of being a wildcard invite; a representative of the Solomon Islands Paralympic Committee believes, with better coaching and additional training, she has the potential to qualify for the Rio Paralympics on performance grounds.

Saohaga’s best throw in competition was a distance of 5.23 metres. This set a personal-best career throw for the athlete, and sees her finishing with a season’s best score of 228. Her efforts saw her finish ahead of several competitors including: Nephtalie Jean Louis of Haiti, Rhodah Mutale of Zambia, Madinat Abdullayeva, of Azerbaijan and Nadia Medjedj of Algeria.

Excerpt from an interview with Saohaga prior to competition
Image: Laura Hale.

In training at the practice athletics field in London, Saohaga spent time on-field at the same time as Oscar Pistorius, and got her picture taken with the “Blade Runner”.



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September 8, 2012

Hellen Saohaga\’s London performance ranks as second best Solomon Island performance at Olympics and Paralympics

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hellen Saohaga at the Paralympic Village on Friday
Image: Laura Hale.

The Solomon Islands during the Opening Ceremony, with Saohaga as flag-bearer
Image: Laura Hale.

London, England—When Solomon Islander Hellen Saohaga finished fifteenth in Saturday’s women’s shot put — F57/58, she set a personal best and became the second-highest finishing Solomon Islander ever in Olympic and Paralympic competition; only Olympic powerlifter Jenly Tegu Wini has bettered her performance, coming twelfth in competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Saohaga qualified for this year’s Paralympics on the basis of being a wildcard invite; a representative of the Solomon Islands Paralympic Committee believes, with better coaching and additional training, she has the potential to qualify for the Rio Paralympics on performance grounds.

Saohaga’s best throw in competition was a distance of 5.23 metres. This set a personal-best career throw for the athlete, and sees her finishing with a season’s best score of 228. Her efforts saw her finish ahead of several competitors including: Nephtalie Jean Louis of Haiti, Rhodah Mutale of Zambia, Madinat Abdullayeva of Azerbaijan and Nadia Medjedj of Algeria.

Solomon islands.ogg

Excerpt from an interview with Saohaga prior to competition
Image: Laura Hale.

In training at the practice athletics field in London, Saohaga spent time on-field at the same time as Oscar Pistrious; and, getting her picture taken with the “Blade Runner”.



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September 5, 2012

Release and pardon of killer jeopardises Armenia-Azerbaijan ceasefire

Release and pardon of killer jeopardises Armenia-Azerbaijan ceasefire

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

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Photo-collage from the ’88—’94 Nagorno-Karabakh War
Image: Nicholas Babaian, Oleg Litvin, Jalpeyrie, Marshall Bagramyan.

Following Hungary‘s release and repatriation of convicted Azeri axe-murderer Ramil Safarov, who Azerbaijan subsequently pardoned, Armenia announced it is “ready for war”.

The declaration is in-response to Safarov’s pardon and promotion, despite the Azeri officer having been given a life sentence — with a minimum jail term of 30 years, by Hungarian authorities in 2006. Safarov was found guilty of the 2004 murder of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan in Budapest, when both Safarov and Margaryan were attending a NATO Partnership for Peace programme. Safarov killed Margaryan in his sleep with an axe; the attack allegedly stemming from a desire to avenge Azeris killed during the Nagorno-Karabakh War and being mocked by Margaryan and another Armenian.

On his return home, Safarov was met with a hero’s welcome, given a pardon by president Ilham Aliyev, promoted to the rank of major, awarded eight-years of back-pay and given a house. Armenia sees these acts, when it was expected that Safarov would serve out his prison term in Azerbaijan, as highly provocative.

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian declared: “We don’t want a war, but if we have to, we will fight and win. We are not afraid of killers, even if they enjoy the protection of the head of state” .

Historically both Armenia and Azerbaijan lay claim to some of the same territories, an issue complicated by the intermingling of ethnic populations so some areas have no clearly demarcated Azeri and Armenian border; these potential sources of conflict remained quiescent whilst both nations were subsumed by greater powers. However, the collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires in the wake of the First World War led to the Armenian–Azerbaijani War. With the demise of the short-lived Armenian-Azerbaijan-Georgia Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, fighting broke out which only ended when the two nations were annexed by the expanding Soviet Union.

With the USSR’s collapse, Armenia and Azerbaijan re-emerged as independent states — as-did old rivalries over territory. Between 1988 and 1994 over thirty thousand people died, and a million were displaced in bitter ethnic fighting between Armenians and Azeris over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh; despite an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe brokered ceasefire, no final armistice has been signed and intermittent violence between them the two states continues. Nagorno-Karabakh remains legally part of Azerbaijan, but under effective Armenian control. On multiple occasions president Ilham Aliyev has stated his willingness to resort to force in order to assert Azeri rule, with oil wealth tipping any local arms race in favour of Azerbaijan.

On Friday, The National Security Council of Armenia decided to break ties with Hungary during an emergency summit, describing the Hungarian actions as a “grave mistake”. In turn, the Azeri ambassador was summoned by Hungary on Monday regarding the breach of Azeri assurances that Safarov would serve out the remainder of his sentence in Azerbaijan.



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September 4, 2012

Armenia severs diplomatic relations with Hungary

Filed under: Armenia,Asia,Azerbaijan,Europe,Hungary,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Following the release and pardon of a convicted Azeri killer, Ramil Safarov, Armenia has declared itself “ready for war”

The current declaration follows the repatriation of Ramil Safarov, an Azeri officer who had been sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum incarceration of 30 years, by Hungarian authorities in 2006 for the 2004 murder of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan in Budapest when Both Safarov and Margaryan were attending a Nato Partnership for Peace programme. Safarov killed Margaryan in his sleep with an axe, alledgely out of a desire to avenge Azeris killed during the Nagorno-Karabakh War and because Margaryan and another Armenian had mocked him.

On his return home to a hero’s welcome Safarov was given a pardon from president Ilham Aliyev, promoted to major, paid eight years of back-pay and given a house, acts seen as provocative by Armenia.

“We don’t want a war, but if we have to, we will fight and win. We are not afraid of killers, even if they enjoy the protection of the head of state,” declared Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian.

Over 30,000 people died in the 1988 to 1994 fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the enclave of [[w:Nagorno-Karabakh|Nagorno-Karabakh], despite a ceasefire no final armistice has been signed between the two former Soviet republics.

Earlier on Friday The National Security Council of Armenia decided to break their country’s ties with Hungary during an emergency summit, over what armenia described as a “grave mistake” on the part of Hungary. In turn the Azeri ambassador was summoned by Hungary yesterday in protest over the breaking of Azeri assurances that Safarov would serve out the remainder of his sentence in Azerbaijan.



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