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Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan on the importance of real tolerance
20 August 2013 | Hayk Kotanjian

Our interlocutor today is the Head of the Institute for National Strategic Studies MOD, RA, Doctor of Political Science (RF), Counterterrorism fellow (US NDU), Full member of the Academy of Military Sciences of the RF, Major General Hayk S. Kotanjian.

How would you assess an unprecedented public filthy language in diplomatic practice against the senior official of the Russian Federation, which occurred at the protocol event during the visit of the Russian President to Baku, and the announcement of dismissal of the Azerbaijani official?

First, I would like to mention the great interest and the traditional professional attention of the Armenian military politicians and political scientists for the visit of the Russian President Vladimir Putin - a strategic ally of Armenia - to our neighboring country ahead of presidential elections in Azerbaijan. Of course, this unprecedented (in international political and diplomatic practice) invective on the official guest of the Azerbaijan Republic - Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation - could not be ignored. Later on, I will get back to the recent statement by the President of the Republic of Armenia referring to the circumstances of preference for Ilham Aliyevs re-election - to a certain extent associated with the essence of the incident mentioned by you in respect to the Russian senior official, who arrived to Baku for the Russian-Azerbaijani intergovernmental negotiations.

As for the public filthy language to the Foreign Minister in the beginning of the signing of the protocol interstate act - the bilateral Program for the Russian-Azerbaijani cooperation in the humanitarian sphere during the visit of the Russian President Vladimir Putin - it can be regarded as a demonstration of a cynical mockery against generally accepted international norms of diplomatic ethics and against the Russian state, personified in this case by Sergey Lavrov - the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Apparently, some Azerbaijani colleagues (among the sober-minded) understood that the demonstration of impunity in cases of such public explicit savagery is impossible in interstate relations. With all the conventionality of the parallel, such diplomatic licentiousness would not have been present at one time, for example, against the ethnic Armenian Mikhail Loris-Melikov Earl, General and the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Russian Empire, the President of the Supreme Administrative Commission (Chancellor) of His Imperial Majesty Alexander II.

Of course, the dismissal of the Azerbaijani official is an understandable step by the Azerbaijani authorities, prior to the official apology of the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan.

How would you comment on the recent statement of the President of the Republic of Armenia Mr. Serzh Sargsyan that Ilham Aliyevs victory in the presidential elections in Azerbaijan is beneficial for Armenia?

Going back to answering to your previous question, I would point out that this unprecedented incident in the diplomatic practice reflects the atmosphere of Armenophobia instilled in Azerbaijan by its authorities and prevents productive cooperation between the parties to the conflict - Azerbaijan, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Armenia and the co-chairmanship of the Minsk Group of the OSCE - in the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict and establishment of a lasting peace in the South Caucasus. One example of this was the deportation of the Russian journalist Anna Sahakyan - an ethnic Russian - who arrived in Baku to cover the visit of the Russian President in Azerbaijan, and was refused permission to carry out her professional activities only due to the fact that the Russian lady has an Armenian name.

The setoff of these racist sentiments, accompanied by the assurances of the Azerbaijani political propaganda about ethnic tolerance, supposedly reigning in the Azerbaijani society, is the recent announcement by the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan about his preference for Armenia that the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev would be re-elected. We should pay attention to a very important condition that statement has in common with the incident mentioned by you in respect of the Russian guests and emphasized by the President of Armenia in his recent remarks. Namely, he wished to continue negotiations with the newly re-elected President of Azerbaijan ... if Ilham Aliyev has the will to rise above his mania of Armenophobia".

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