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arminfo: ARMENIAN ASSEMBLY CONDEMNS BRUTAL KILLING

WASHINGTON, DC, FEBRUARY 20. ARMINFO. The Armenian Assembly strongly condemned the murder in Hungary Thursday of an Armenian army lieutenant by an Azerbaijani officer, and said the brutal killing at a NATO training facility was a reflection of the belligerence and anti-Armenian mood set by Baku.

“The killing is a blow to the very principles of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program which had brought both the Armenian and Azerbaijani officers to Hungary to attend special English language courses,” Assembly Executive Director Ross Vartian said. “Ongoing bellicose remarks by Azerbaijani leaders fuel anti-Armenian hysteria at a time when both Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh are pursuing a peaceful approach to the conflict with their neighbor,” Vartian said. “The brutal killing is not only a deplorable act, but also a clear and direct result of the anti-Armenian tone set by the Baku leadership. It is long past time for Azerbaijan’s leadership to behave responsibly, starting with President Aliyev’s condemnation of this vicious murder,” Vartian said. The killing, at the Hungarian University of National Defense, came a month after Azerbaijan refused to allow three Armenian officers to attend a conference held in Baku under the aegis of the NATO/PfP program. While both NATO and the United States spoke out against the ban, the leader of the Baku government-sanctioned Azerbaijani “Organization for Liberation of Karabakh” Akif Nagi promised even more drastic action. “They have nothing to do in our land,” Akif told a rally in Baku. He said “unpleasant surprises” and more “radical measures” will await any Armenian delegation that tries to attend the NATO-sponsored joint military exercise in Baku later this year.

Any such visit by the Armenians, Nagi said, “will turn into tragedy and blood for them.” In Budapest, Hungarian police said the Armenian officer attending a NATO Partnership for Peace program was hacked to death “with unusual cruelty” early Thursday morning with an axe and a knife by an Azerbaijani participant. “We say unusual cruelty because besides a number of knife wounds on his chest, the victim’s head was practically severed from his body,” Budapest police Maj. Valter Fulop told reporters. He identified the victim as Lt. Gurgen Markarian, 26, of Armenia and the suspect as Lt. Ramil Safarov, 27, of Azerbaijan. “We detained the suspect, who did not put up a resistance and his interrogation, along with the questioning of witnesses – including Markarian’s Hungarian roommate – is continuing,” a Budapest police spokesman said.

In Yerevan, a spokesman for the Armenian Defense Ministry said the brutal murder was “a result of bellicose anti-Armenian propaganda, unleashed by the authorities of Azerbaijan lately.” Also condemning the killing, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said: “This crime is the logical consequence of the anti-Armenian hysteria that has been left unchecked by the Azerbaijani authorities over the years and the warmongering militarist propaganda of recent months, which consistently infects all Azerbaijani society. It is evident that such state policy has crossed the bounds and officials, representing Azerbaijan abroad, can commit cold-blooded murder.”

AZERBAIJANI FOREIGN OFFICE ISSUES STATEMENT ON INCIDENT IN BUDAPEST

BAKU, FEBRUARY 20. ARMINFO-TURAN. The Foreign Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan regrets the accident that occurred in Budapest, on February 19, when an Armenian officer was killed, and offers condolences to his colleagues and family, says a statement issued by the Azerbaijani Foreign Office.

“The Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov, who was detained on suspicion of murder, comes from a refugee family from the Jabrail region, which was occupied by Armenians in 1993. During the occupation the family’s effects were plundered, some of the officer’s relatives were killed. According to the information available, the Armenian servicemen made repeated statements insulting the Azerbaijani officer’s honor and the memory of the victims of the Armenian aggression.” All that affected Ramil Safarov’s emotional state.

“The Azerbaijani side urges the Armenian side to restrain from accusations against Azerbaijan and its people. The accident in Budapest cannot be allowed to catalyze the aggravation of strained relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The accident once more confirms the need for intensification of the international community’s efforts towards a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within international law,” says the statement of the Azerbaijani Foreign Office.

NATO COMMAND COMMENTS ON TRAGEDY IN BUDAPEST

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 20. ARMINFO. The NATO command qualifies the accident in Budapest as a crime and denounces it, the NATO Spokesman told the Radio Free Europe, commenting on the murder of an Armenian officer by an Azerbaijani one. The officers were in Budapest under NATO’s program of English language training.

As regards the possibility of transferring NATO training from Azerbaijan to another country, he stated that the NATO Command is not considering this issue now. However, he did not rule out that this issue will be discussed at the next conference on planning NATO training, which will be attended by Armenian and Azerbaijani representatives.

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