By Deborah Seward
The Daily Gazette – Sep 6, 1993
MOSCOW – Azerbaijani leader Geydar Aliev arrived Sunday for talks with Russian officials on ending the war with Armenia, whose forces were pressing deeper into Azerbaijan, news agencies reported. Skirmishes were reported between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces near the town of Goradlz, a few miles from Azerbaijan’s border with Iran, the ITAR-Tass news agency said. No casualty reports were provided.
Aliev, the former Communist Party boss of Azerbaijan, has sought to reverse ousted President Abulfaz Elclbey’s tilt toward Iran and Turkey in favor of resuming strong ties with Russia.
Azerbaijan’s parliament authorized Aliev to resolve the issue of whether to enter the Commonwealth of Independent States, an association of most of the former Soviet republics that Elcibey refused to join, ITAR-Tass said.
Membership in the commonwealth would give Azerbaijan the right to take part in the group’s collective security arrangement, enable it to request commonwealth troops if needed, and provide economic advantages.
Allev reportedly had planned to attend a commonwealth summit scheduled for Tuesday, but the meeting has been postponed until later in the month at Ukraine’s request.
Aliev traveled to Moscow one week after voters overwhelmingly rejected Elcibey in a vote of confidence in his leadership. Elcibey, Azerbaijan’s first democratically elected president, was ousted during a military revolt in June after one year in office.
Failure to repel Armenian advances into Azerbaijan over the past year in the war over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh were a major factor in Elcibey’s ouster and the loss of public approval. Nagorno-Karabakh is a mostly Armenian enclave in Azebaljan.
The Armenian advance has continued since Elcibey’s ouster, and Aliev faces the challenge of reversing Azerbaijan’s losses.
More than 15,000 people have been killed in the war, and more than 1 million have become refugees. Armenia now controls nearly 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory.
Many of the new refugees have fled from Azerbaijani towns and villages located in a corridor of land in between Iran end Nagorno-Karabakh and have taken refuge along the Araks River across from Iran.
Iranian Radio quoted reported that Iran has agreed to build a camp to house 100.000 Azerbaijani refugees on Its territory.
Turkey has posted four Infantry battalions along Armenia’s frontier, while Iran has deployed an unknown number of troops along Azerbaijan’s border.
Turkey’s prime minister, Tansu Ciller, threatened to Intervene if Armenia attacked the Azerbaijani region of Nakhichevan, and her Cabinet has warned Armenia to withdraw from Azerbaijan Immediately and unconditionally.