By Sara Rajabova
Azerbaijan will have to use the capabilities of its army if Armenia's aggressive policy persists, Azerbaijani Defense Minister, Colonel General Safar Abiyev has said in a meeting with a delegation headed by Japanese Vice-Minister of Defense Masahisa Sato.
"Though the advantage is given to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of the [mediating] OSCE Minsk Group, unfortunately, there is no specific result," Abiyev said.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict emerged in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since a lengthy war in the early 1990s that displaced over one million Azerbaijanis, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. Long-standing efforts within the Minsk Group by US, Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far.
According to the Azerbaijani minister, one of the disturbing factors is that four resolutions adopted by the UN have not yet been enforced.
"If the factor related to the presence of Section 907 of the U.S. Congress is also taken into account, we will see what tension reigns in the region. If this situation continues, we will face the necessity to use the capabilities of our military," Abiyev said.
Section 907 to the Freedom Support Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1992, bans direct aid to the Azerbaijani government. In October 24, 2001, the Senate granted the U.S. President the powers to waive Section 907. That waiver has been exercised every year since 2002.
During the meeting of the Azerbaijani and Japanese officials it was also noted that Azerbaijan and Japan are to prepare an agreement on bilateral military cooperation, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry told Trend news agency.
Also, the parties stressed the rapid development of the cultural and economic relations between Japan and Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani defense minister said bilateral cooperation will make a great contribution to the deepening of the relations between the two countries.
In turn, Vice-Minister Sato stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries and said that the involvement of Azerbaijan's armed forces in peacekeeping missions has a great significance.
The meeting was attended by Azerbaijani Ambassador to Japan Gursel Ismailzade and Japanese Ambassador to Azerbaijan Shusuke Watanabe.