Pakistani President: “Islamabad will support Azerbaijan in Nagorno Karabakh issue”

OSCE Chairman Eamon Gilmore, who is also Deputy Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland, presented a report at the UN Security Council (SC) on February 9 in New York, stressing his pursuit of “long-term settlement of protracted conflicts in Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno Karabakh”.

Addressing the Karabakh issue, Gilmore spoke highly of the work of OSCE Minsk Group (MG). “We welcome the efforts of OSCE Minsk Group for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict and expect close cooperation with the co-chairs during this year”.

After Gilmore's speech, ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev, Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan (Non-Permanent member of UN SC) to UN, urged OSCE to deal with the issue more actively and recognize Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.

The same day official Islamabad criticized the low efficiency of American, Russian and French diplomats (MG co-chairs) and spoke for the necessity of involving also other countries in the OSCE MG.

Pakistani ambassador to Azerbaijan Inayatullah Kakar stated: “OSCE Minsk Group has been working over the issue for a long time, but that work has not been productive. One of the reasons, I believe, is double standards. I think, in order to raise the work efficiency of Minsk Group, it should be expanded to include also other states.”

Pakistan is a country that has never recognized the independence of the Republic of Armenia.

In this connection the ambassador said: “As you know Pakistan is the only country that has not recognized Armenia as a state. Pakistan has always recognized, and always will, Azerbaijan's territorial integrity. In the Nagorno Karabakh issue Azerbaijan can always rely on Pakistan’s support, just like Azerbaijan is supporting Pakistan in the Kashmir issue.”

Yet Benazir Bhutto during her premiership talked about Pakistan's readiness to get engaged in the Karabakh conflict settlement.

It was during her second term as a premier (1993-1996) that Taliban brigades were formed in Azerbaijan, which fought against the Defense Army of Nagorno Karabakh and declared jihad to all Armenians. Pakistan’s current president Asif Ali Zardari is the bearer of Bhutto clan's pan-Islamic course and the spouse of Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated in a bombing in December, 2007.

Recently Ali Zardari stated: “The relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan are based on common historical, cultural and religious grounds. Islamabad will always support Azerbaijan in the Nagorno Karabakh issue.”

Pakistan is the second country after Turkey to have recognized Azerbaijan's independence in 1991. It is Azerbaijan’s most important military partner, along with Turkey.

Azeri officers are currently undergoing training in Pakistan. Further, the Pakistani diplomatic academy offers education courses in Azeri diplomacy.