Oskanian Says Karabakh Can Never Be Subject to Trade

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–In addressing the National Assembly Wednesday, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said that Karabakh could never be subject to trade, "not for gas Not for oil." Oskanian said that if the Karabakh conflict were resolved, addressing those issues would be much easier, however, "gas or oil cannot be the price in the Karabakh issue, which would lead to such a solution," that would place Armenia in a compromising situation. The minister was discussing the various by which energy resources could enter Armenia, but warned that Armenian would never make concessions that would hinder the status or current position of Karabakh or Armenia. Oskanian cited the proposed Kars-Akhalkalak-Tbilisi-Baku railway, explaining that its construction did not isolate Armenia. He added that the reasoning behind the proposed railway emanated from Turkey and Azerbaijan and was a political one. "We have made the first step without forwarding pre-conditions for Turkey and we have always been calling to establish good-neighborly relations, open border but Turkey has not made a step forward. They supported Azerbaijan in exerting pressure on Armenia’so that we surrender and make unacceptable concessions for us in the Karabakh conflict regulation process," Oskanian said. Oskanian said, it would have been possible to prevent the construction of the railway if Armenia made those concessions. From an economic perspective, the construction of the railway cannot harm Armenia, explained Oskanian adding that opposition to the construction of the railway from the EU and the US was proof that the project was not a politically prudent one for the parties involved. Oskanian said that Armenia could not blame Georgia for looking at the railway from an economic stand point and the benefits it might bring to that country. He emphasized Georgia’s strategic importance to Armenia. Deputy parliament Speaker Vahan Hovanessian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Wednesday reiterated Armenia’s opposition to the construction of the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway. Speaking to reporters, Hovanessian said the project was a political scheme and was not substantiated economically. Armenian presidential spokesperson Viktor Soghomonian last week branded the project as politically motivated. "Armenia always has been guided by the economic efficiency of projects," Hovanessian said at a news conference, adding that Yerevan would continue to oppose construction of the railway and will use negotiations at different levels to oppose its construction. In Tbilisi, leaders of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia Wednesday signed the agreement for the construction of the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway. Hovanessian said Turkey hopes that after the new railway was built, it would face less pressure to reopen the old railway stretching form Kars to Gumri that was operational under the Soviets and was closed by Turkey in a move to show its solidarity with Azerbaijan. "Turkey hopes that if the railway works, the pressure on Turkey to open the railway with Armenia may weaken. I think, however, that this is an incorrect calculation, since it’s not only Armenia that understands that this is a political project and has nothing to do with communication and economy," said Hovanessian. "Until the Armenian-Azeri conflict is not solved Turkey will not open its border with Armenia," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told today during a meeting with Azeri Defense Minister Safar Abiev. "We have always been close with Azerbaijan and it will continue to be so. We must be each other’s support. Like in all the spheres Turkey will continue cooperation with Azerbaijan in the defense sphere as well," Erdogan said.

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