London – As fighting rages between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed separatist Nagorno Karabakh region, hundreds of deaths and fears of the withdrawal of regional powers, Turkey, Russia, and the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo And to meet with the foreign ministers of the two countries in a diplomatic attempt to stop the fighting.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in an exclusive interview with Fox News that his country is ready to lay down arms.
“We are ready to agree to a ceasefire,” he said, adding that such a step is conditional on the withdrawal of Armenia from what Azerbaijan calls “occupied” border lands. A ceasefire failed in the past during the bloody battle that lasted nearly four weeks.
Baku has come under international criticism for its alleged civilian casualties in the conflict. Residential buildings and even the historic church came under fire from the Azerbaijani army. Azerbaijan says Armenia is doing the same, and the president claims the damage was not intended.
“We said publicly that we will take revenge, but on the battlefield. We are not killing civilians. We are not targeting religious sites,” Aliyev said.
The concern is that this local war now could expand: Turkey supports Azerbaijan, and Russia is a symbolic ally of Armenia.
“Our position is that all countries in the region should stay away from direct participation in the conflict,” Aliyev said. We are against the “internationalization of” conflict.
Nevertheless, Turkey’s support for Baku is strong and overt. In addition to military equipment, several sources claimed that Syrian militias allied with Turkey are fighting alongside the Azerbaijani forces. Aliyev categorically denied the charges.
He said, “We do not need any mercenaries. It is all false news aimed at tarnishing the image of the country and diminishing the courage of the soldiers on the battlefield.”
Some accounts refer to the pre-election timing of the meetings held in Washington between Pompeo and senior officials in the battle. After the meetings, President Trump told reporters optimistically, “We’ll see what happens.”
The Azerbaijani president seemed ready to accept aid, however he got it.
We support any motive to end hostility, “Aliyev said. “A very direct position President Trump He supports me as well as the Azerbaijani people. “
In fact, at Friday’s Oval Office press event, Trump card He praised Armenia and did not mention Azerbaijan. When asked again whether he believed a peaceful solution was possible, Aliyev provided an elaborate answer.
He said, “I’m pretty sure … but it depends on the other side.”