EXPERT: BAKU HAS UNOFFICIALLY AGREED TO TAKE PART IN ANTI-IRANIAN COALITION

Regnum, Russia
May 18 2006

The USA is main initiator of various ways of Nagorno Karabakh conflict
settlement, as well as most active mediator of the negotiation
process, Azerbaijani analyst Arif Yunusov is quoted as saying by a
REGNUM correspondent at The Caucasus in Russian Policy: History and
the Present International Conference organized by Caucasus Research
Center at Russian Foreign Ministry's Moscow State University of
International Relations (MGIMO).

According to him, Russian co-Chair of OSCE Minsk Group Yuri Merzlyakov,
who, according Yunusov, "sabotaged the talks," did not practically
support activity of the American side. At the same time, Yunusov stated
that American diplomacy did not succeed in achieving any results to
settle the Karabakh conflict, and, according to Yunusov, American
co-Chair Steven Mann is to be dismissed, receiving a new appointment.

Also, the Baku analyst mentioned processes, which develop around
Iran, as well as Azerbaijan's attitudes towards to them. According to
him, official Baku has unofficially agreed with Washington to take
part in anti-Iranian coalition, offering their airdromes and other
communications to satisfy US army's requirements. Also, according to
him, main part of Azerbaijani public opinion is categorically again
such decision, because it realizes risks, which will become real,
if Iran is attacked. "Iranian authorities directly stated that if
the Azerbaijani side supports Americans, they will attack on 24 most
important objects in Azerbaijan, including BTC oil pipeline, which
will cause ecological disaster, and even, maybe - on Baku residential
areas," the analyst stressed. Also, he informed that despite that,
seven airdromes have unofficially been handed over to Americans,
and appropriate conditions and infrastructure are prepared to settle
US servicemen in the south of Azerbaijan. The analyst pointed out
that there is danger of refugees' afflux from Iran in the light
of possible attack against the country. Already now, according
to Yunusov's information, confirmed, in his words, by the Iranian
ambassador in Baku, up to 50,000 Iranian citizens have settled in
the Azerbaijani territory.