ARMENIA CUTS TIES WITH HUNGARY OVER AZERBAIJAN KILLER PARDON

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19440661
31 August 2012 Last updated at 19:47

Ramil Safarov in Baku. Photo: 31 August 2012 Ramil Safarov was greeted
as a national hero in Baku, reports say

Armenia says it is severing diplomatic ties with Hungary after the
release of an Azeri army officer convicted of murdering an Armenian
soldier.

The Azeri serviceman, Ramil Safarov, was given a life sentence for
hacking Armenian Gurgen Markarian to death with an axe in 2004 in
Budapest.

On Friday, Safarov was flown to Baku and pardoned, despite Baku's
assurances that his sentence would be enforced.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a bitter war over an enclave in the
early 1990s.

Armenia said on Friday that Hungary had made a "grave mistake" in
sending Safarov back to Azerbaijan.

"With their joint actions, Azerbaijan and Hungary opened the door
to the recurrence of such crimes," President Serzh Sarkisian said in
comments release by his press office.

BBC map

"I cannot put up with this. The republic of Armenia cannot put up
with this," the president added.

The Hungarian authorities said they had returned Safarov to his
homeland only after receiving assurances from the Baku government
that his sentence would be enforced.

Safarov killed Gurgen Markarian at a military academy in Budapest,
where both servicemen attended English-language courses organised
by Nato.

During his trial in Hungary, Safarov said that the Azeri-Armenian war
over Nagorno-Karabakh and insults from the Armenian officer were at
the root of his actions.

Hungary and Azerbaijan have so far made no public comment on the case.

Azerbaijan and Armenia, both former Soviet republics, fought a war
over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave in the early 1990s, which left some
30,000 people dead, and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Armenia-backed authorities are currently controlling Nagorno-Karabakh,
which lies within Azerbaijan.

Despite a 1994 ceasefire, skirmishes continue on the borders of the
disputed territory.