Yerevan Dismisses Aliyev Claims On Karabakh

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenian leaders on Friday shrugged off Azeri President Ilham Aliyevs claims that they have agreed to the liberation of all seven liberated territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh as part of a peace accord currently discussed by the conflicting parties. Aliyev made the commen’s as he inaugurated a newly built settlement for Azeri refugees near Baku earlier in the day. Azeri media quoted him as saying that the Armenian side is ready to pull out of even the Lachin district which serves as the shortest overland link between Karabakh and Armenia proper. He said that under the terms of the peace deal proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group the land corridor would be temporarily controlled by international mediators before being placed under Azeri control. Armenian and Karabakh leaders have repeatedly said that Lachins return to Azerbaijan is non-negotiable. They have also set additional conditions for Armenian withdrawal from Kelbajar, the other Azeri district sandwiched between Armenia and Karabakh. I dont know what goals the president of Azerbaijan is pursuing, but it is known to everyone that we have principles and those principles havent changed, Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian told RFE/RL. So take Aliyevs statemen’s easy. The statemen’s relating to territorial concessions are untrue, said Vahan Hovannesian, the deputy parliament speaker and an Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member. This is not the first such case in his political career. In his speech, Aliyev also said that Karabakhs status should be determined after the return of those districts within the framework of Azerbaijans territorial integrity. Those [Karabakh Armenia’s] that want independence should move to Armenia, he said. The Minsk Groups peace proposals seem to allow for international recognition of Karabakh through a referendum of self-determination in the Armenian-populated territory. The conflicting parties have yet to agree on the date and other practical modalities of the proposed vote. In a recent interview with the French-Armenian magazine Nouvelles dArmenie, Sarkisian said the Karabakh conflict can be resolved only on the condition that Karabakh is will never be under Azeri control.

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