Baku warns of consequences if Armenia targets gas pipelines
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said the outcome will be severe if Yerevan tries to take control of the pipelines
in this region has the potential to directly affect the BakuTbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) crude oil pipeline, the Southern Natural Gas Pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway.
Aliyev also said that Turkey’s participation in diplomatic talks on the region of Nagorno-Karabakh is necessary and that the conflict cannot be solved without Ankara’s involvement.
He added that although Azerbaijan has Turkish F-16 jets, they are not being used in the current conflict between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces.
On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said yesterday that Moscow disagreed with Turkey’s position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and that a military solution was unacceptable.
“We do not agree with the position voiced by Turkey, that was also expressed several times by President Aliyev,” Lavrov said in an interview with local radio stations. “It is not a secret that we cannot agree with a statement that a military solution to the conflict is permissible.”
Lavrov added that it would be right to deploy Russian military observers on the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh but that it was up to Azerbaijan and Armenia to decide.
Nagorno-Karabakh has seen heavy fighting over the recent weeks which has claimed the lives of 600 people, including civilians. The region is considered by the United Nations and international law to be part of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has so far liberated nearly 30 villages in Nagorno-Karabakh since clashes broke out between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in late September.
The clashes began on Sept. 27 when Armenian forces targeted civilian Azerbaijani settlements and military positions in the region, leading to casualties.
From Sept. 27 until Oct. 14, at least 43 Azerbaijani civilians have lost their lives and more than 200 were injured, said the country’s chief prosecutor’s office.
AZERBAIJAN CONTINUES OPERATIONS
As Azerbaijan continues its military operations to liberate Armenian-occupied territories in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its surroundings, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said yesterday that it had destroyed two missile launch sites in Armenia that were being used to target civilian areas during the fighting.
It was also reported that the Azerbaijani army has liberated eight more villages from Armenia’s occupation.
“Azerbaijan’s glorious Army has liberated Garadaghli, Khatunbulag, Garakollu villages of Fuzuli district, and Bulutan, Melikjanli, Kemertuk, Teke and Tagaser villages of Khojavend district. Long live Azerbaijan’s Army! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!” Aliyev said on Twitter.
Hikmet Hajiyev, the assistant to the president and foreign policy chief for Azerbaijan’s Presidency, said in a statement yesterday that under the pretense of a humanitarian cease-fire, Yerevan’s armed forces continue to launch missile and artillery attacks against cities in Azerbaijan and the weapons are being shot from inside Armenia’s territory.
“Armenia aims to expand the conflict’s geography and involve third parties in the conflict,” Hajiyev said.
Hajiyev added that Armenia calls on foreigners to join their forces in a violation of the U.N. decisions.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry confirmed that areas inside the country had been targeted, denied its forces were firing into Azerbaijan and said it now “reserves the right to target any military installations and combat movements on the territory of Azerbaijan.
In another statement, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said yesterday Azerbaijan aimed to “occupy” the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh completely, and described the situation in the conflict zone as “very difficult”.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.
Around 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory has remained under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.
Multiple U.N. resolutions, as well as many international organizations, have demanded the withdrawal of the occupying forces.
The Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia and the U.S. – was set up in 1992 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to find a peaceful solution to the conflict but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed upon in 1994.
Many world powers, including Russia, France and the U.S., have urged a new ceasefire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.
Most recently, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to abide by the cease-fire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region in a telephone call with his counterparts from those countries, the Russian Defense Ministry said yesterday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said later in the day that fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh region should stop immediately and that the conflict should be resolved through diplomatic means.
FRENCH FM WANTS NEUTRALITY
France’s foreign minister also pressed the country Tuesday to adopt a neutral stance on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as fighting in the occupied region continued.
“We would be doing a disservice to the quality of our bilateral relationship with Armenia if we took an unbalanced posture that would call into question the role we play in the framework of the Minsk Group and the influence we have,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told French daily Le Figaro.
Azerbaijan has significant hydrocarbon reserves which represent essential channels for many international companies, and Le Drian also recognizes the rapport with Armenia, thus his reluctance to stir the pot.
“We also have a long relationship with Azerbaijan,” he said. “We would no longer be legitimate if we sided with one or the other of the two countries,” he said.
An estimated 600,000 Armenians live in France.