YEREVAN, September 4. / ARKA /. Armenia’s foreign minister Edward Nalbandian slammed today the authorities of Hungary for extraditing an Azerbaijani officer, Ramil Safarov, sentenced by a Hungarian court to life in prison for killing an Armenian colleague, Gurgen Margarian, in 2004.
Speaking at a joint news conference with visiting foreign minister of Argentina, Hector Timerman, Nalbandian said the actions of Budapest have caused the concerns of the international community.
The US, EU, the OSCE Minsk Group, France and the CSTO, deplored a pardon granted by Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev to Ramil Safarov, saying that it will complicate a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
”We believe that these actions by the Azerbaijani as well as Hungarian authorities run counter to efforts agreed upon at the international level and within the OSCE Minsk Group framework in the first instance and aimed at reducing tension in the region,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said in a statement.
Nikolay Bordyuzha, secretary general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian-led military alliance of six ex-Soviet states, denounced Safarov’s release from prison in stronger terms. He said the move “runs counter to the norms of international law and calls into question the viability of the inter-state system of countering crime.”
“We are concerned by the news that the president of Azerbaijan pardoned Azerbaijani army officer Ramil Safarov who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of an Armenian army officer in 2004,” Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told a news briefing in Brussels.
U.S. President Barack Obama expressed through a spokesman his “deep concern” and “disappointment” with Safarov’s release later on Friday. The spokesman said Washington also expects an official explanation from the Hungarian side.
"The actions of Hungary, as a member of the EU and NATO, have raised serious concern of the international community. How could Hungary pretend it believes Azerbaijan, and go to such a dubious move, " Nalbandian said.
Argentina's foreign minister declined to comment on the matter, explaining that he had arrived in Armenia to strengthen bilateral relations and advised to ask questions on this topic. -0-