Aliev Vows To ‘Fight’ Armenian Diaspora

Aliev Vows To ‘Fight’ Armenian Diaspora
Tuesday 17, October 2006

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliev announced Tuesday a campaign to counter the influence of the Armenian diaspora. Aliev said his oil-rich ex-Soviet republic was opening embassies and consulates in parts of the world where the Armenian diaspora was especially influential.

“It’s no secret that California is a state with a large Armenian population. We opened a consulate general (in Los Angeles) to be there and to fight the Armenian lobby,” Aliev said in an interview with Arabic network Al-Jazeera, a transcript of which was published by Azerbaijan’s state news agency Azertaj.

Aliev said his country planned to open an embassy in Argentina,
where the Armenian lobby “is strongest among Latin American
nations.” “One might ask, ‘Why open an embassy in a country with
which we have no serious links.’ But we’re opening an embassy to
fight the Armenian lobby on its own turf,” Aliev said.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a territorial dispute
over the Nagorno-Karabakh ethnic-Armenian enclave since before the
break-up of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan lost control of the
territory and seven surrounding regions during a war in the early
1990s, but Karabakh’s status has yet to be settled. Diaspora
Armenians are key to financing the rebel government controlling the
enclave. The world-wide Armenian diaspora has numbered in the
millions since Armenians were forced out of Ottoman Turkey in a
series of massacres and forced marches during World War I.

Aliev said Azerbaijan’s new oil wealth gave it a chance to outweigh
ethnic-Armenians’ influence abroad. “What is attractive about
Armenia…? Only the fact that it has a rich diaspora that
influences the policies of various countries,” Aliev said.
“Azerbaijan is a country that will supply Europe and world markets
with energy resources. Imagine Azerbaijan on one side of the scale
and Armenia on the other.”

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