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Can President Aliyev be trusted on Nagorno-Karabakh?

33 17 12

On November 10, a peace deal was signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan to end the fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Although there were accusations on both sides of ethnic cleansing, such mass violence did not take place. The exodus of Armenians which some envisioned also did not happen.

After the deal was signed, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, for his part, called for peaceful coexistence between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. But given his questionable democratic credentials, many have doubted his intentions.

I can understand this. In 2009, I was imprisoned for more than two years for what I believed was merely helping a friend put together a satirical film, which the authorities deemed an act of “hooliganism”.

Clearly, this is an administration with which I have had profound disagreements. Yet on the question of Nagorno-Karabakh and the reassertion of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over its territory, I find myself for once in total agreement with it, as do Azerbaijani opposition parties, civil society and indeed the population at large.

Nobody in Azerbaijan craves a deluge of reprisals against the ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, neither do I believe we shall see one. How governments deal with political dissidents is different than how they treat minorities. The violation of civil rights in a country is not the same as the........

© Al Jazeera

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