Baku Again Threatens to Shoot Down Planes

The Stepanakert Airport

STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)—Azerbaijan appeared to have renewed on Monday its threats to shoot down civilian aircraft that would carry out flights between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh without its permission.

The authorities in Baku warned of “corresponding measures” just days after international mediators discussed the matter during their latest tour of the Karabakh conflict zone.

In a statement issued on Friday, the U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group said they “received renewed assurances from the sides that they will reject any threat or use of force against civil aircraft, pursue the matter through diplomatic steps, and refrain from politicizing the issue.”

“The Co-Chairs reaffirmed that operation of this airport cannot be used to support any claim of a change in the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, and urged the sides to act in accordance with international law and consistent with current practice for flights over their territory,” the statement added without elaborating.

The Azerbaijani State Civil Aviation Administration said in that regard that the planned Yerevan-Stepanakert flights would constitute an “invasion” of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized airspace and that “taking corresponding measures in connection with that is inevitable.”

“According to international norms, Azerbaijan has sovereign rights to its airspace,” a spokesman for the government body told the APA news agency. “Those who enter that airspace without permission shall be considered to have breached the air borders.”

The Azerbaijani government first voiced such threats, in more explicit terms, early last year when authorities in Karabakh announced the impending reconstruction of the territory’s sole airport located near Stepanakert. Baku seemed to have backed away from the threats in April 2011 after being criticized by mediating powers.

The launch of first commercial flights to and from Karabakh in two decades has been repeatedly postponed since then, even though the airport’s reconstruction was essentially completed by the end of 2011. Also, a newly established Karabakh airline reportedly acquired two aircraft for Yerevan-Stepanakert flights earlier this year. An official in Stepanakert told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) last month that the flight service is likely to be launched before the end of this summer.

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12 Comments

  1. John Ahmaranian said:

    for the last 20 years, the access to Kharabagh by land has been without permission from Baku,
    why should we get now a permission to enter Kharabagh by air?

  2. ARA said:

    These morons in AZERBaijian do not realize what they might eat in the water and drink in their toxic foods-shoot us and u suffer 100 times-baku- we will push u out to the middle of the caspian zov and let the animals play with ur hollow heads- ha ha ha- come meet us face to face-we will remind u of the sapines and the wolves will not even come to yah-HAHAHHaa

  3. GB said:

    I think BP worried more about Shah Denize oil fields, than Artsakhi airport, and dictator knows that too!! Once Shah Denize is gone his sultanate will be gone with the wind!!

  4. Hrant K. said:

    “Barking dogs never bite!” It is azeri planes, that approach the Artsakh border and airspace should be considered
    as breaching NKR airspace, not the other way ’round!!

  5. George said:

    To keep Corrupt Aliyev’ and his Corrupt family in power, they may try to sabotage by doing anything stupid.

  6. Padova said:

    Well this is a blackmail against Karabakh and Armenia. Any attempt to shoot down a civilian plane means a declaration of war. The world will blacklist Azerbeijan, including it’s leaders. Afterwards, likewise, Armenian forces should forbid any use of airspace on Azerbeijan’s territory, including the Baku’s airspace . Simply : Teeth for teeth.

  7. Garo said:

    Here we go again… i think the monkeys in the azerbaijani parliament have ran out of bananas again.

  8. Armenia said:

    Բոլորովին պետք չէ նահանջել Բոլոր OSCE խոսքերը դատարկություն է նրանց վրա հոյս կապելը սխալ է
    Պետքէ բազմակողմանի պատրաստ լինել եւ ամենավատթարին սպասել
    Բոլոր հայկական ուժերը եւ հոսանքները պետքէ միանան եւ աչալուտջ լինեն
    նրանք թոյլին շատ են սիրում
    ԱՄՆ

  9. levon sanosyan said:

    Long live free and independent Artsakh. Azeris never had it and will never have it.

  10. zohrab said:

    have some missiles ready any azeri air attack knock them out
    then hit the presidential palace in baku

  11. Dvo said:

    Shooting down a civil plane is a terrorist act there could are not only be Armenians in the plane but also europeans or people from other countrys

    Shooting down a civil plane is without any doubt war

    this Azeris have recently treathen us but nobody takes any actions

  12. Fred said:

    I believe the solution is a very high speed luxury underground train service from Stepanakert to Yerevan. It should be the fastest train in the world powered by the Artsakh electricity. Joining Artsakh to yerevan in 20 minutes or 30 minutes. That will be the jewel in Armenian enginuity and a political double finger to Azerbaijan. By constantly making things harder for us they make us improve even faster and aim even higher. These barbarians have no idea when to stop. So let them and the rest of the world who supports them see what we are capable of.

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