Azerbaijan Says Willing to Lift Blockade

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BAKU (Today’s Zaman)—Azerbaijan has said it may consider opening its borders with Armenia if Yerevan agrees to making major concessions to Baku in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, an Azerbaijani official was quoted by the Turkish Today’s Zaman as saying on Tuesday.

Azeri Foreign Ministry Spokesman Elkhan Polukhov told Today’s Zaman that Azerbaijan may consider opening its borders with Armenia if “a breakthrough” is reached in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Polukhov described that breakthrough as an agreement by Yerevan to return to Azeri control five of the seven liberated Armenian districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh with no conditions. He also added that an agreement is necessary for the return of the strategic regions of Kelbajar and Lachin, connecting the two Armenian republics.

He, however, said it is too early to discuss the mandate and structure of peacekeeping forces that would be required in the territories if they are to be returned to Azeri control.

“It has been said in earlier statements from Azerbaijani officials that Azerbaijan is ready to open borders and restore dialogue with Armenia if the first stage of a plan to resolve the conflict is implemented,” he said.

The Madrid principles governing the Karabakh peace process call for a withdrawal of the liberated territories and their return to Azerbaijan, the return of Azeri refugees to Karabakh, and envision a future referendum of self-determination in Karabakh.

According to Polukhov, Azerbaijan will populate the liberated regions with nearly half a million Azeris kept in refugee camps by the state since the outbreak of the Karabakh war.

The remarks follow weeks of political maneuvering by Baku to hinge the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia to a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict favoring Azerbaijan.

When these conditions are met, he added, “both railways and highways between the two countries will be operational.”

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10 Comments

  1. Hye4Life said:

    I hope Armenia doesn’t fall for another trap. That is what Azeries and Turks are waiting for. What is going to stop Azeries to close the border once they get what they want.

  2. Arman said:

    I do not think Azerbaijan is in a position to dictate terms to Armenia since it lost a military campaign despite possessing superior force. The only ploy Azerbaijan is attempting to use is to lure and tempt the Armenian negotiators by de facto making false offers and bribes in disguise, such as an offer to re-open borders. First of all Armenia has existed since 1993 under a dual blockade and it has succeeded in registering economic growth. Let no one fool themselves that Armenia will be wiped out unless it pleases Turkey and Azerbaijan. Armenia can not and will not be at the mercy of the mercyless. The above article exposes a very important point. As Mr. Polukhov confessed, the Azeri government intends to populate the surrounding territories with half a million settlers in order to once again surround Armenian territory with Turks. This act can have one and only one eventual goal-to artificially upset the population status by unrelentingly squeezing and driving out the native population, as Turks have done in Kosovo, Cyprus, Nakhichevan and Artsakh.

  3. James Sahagian said:

    This is a joke … right? The Karabaghtsis were the victors in this war! A stalemate is far more preferable than anything that has been coming out of Armenian/Turkish, Armenian/Azeri negotiations over the last few weeks.

  4. MGL said:

    Oh, now they are saying: “…to return to Azeri control five of the seven liberated Armenian districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh with no conditions”. When Armenians say no preconditions, Turks and others, don’t like it. But Azeri or others can say what ever they want to get. How ironic.
    What about returning Armenian refuges, even thought no one wants live amongst them. What about different types of compensations to all Armenians who left “international” Baku and other places?
    Why Armenian officials never raise these questions? Why the Armenian government wants to be a looser. We won the war not them.
    The longer we will have close borders the better. Who’s this stupid idea about opening borders anyway? What are the justifications for the opening borders? Did someone analyze all pros and cons about opening borders with our “civilized” neighbors?
    Open borders from both Turks and Azeri sides and oops there won’t be Armenia any more and all population will speak Turkish.

  5. Armen Grigorian said:

    Please……
    Azerbaijan can keep borders close as long as it make them happy. No Concessins please…….

  6. Gayane said:

    SHAN POCH IRANQ KUTEN if they think Armenia will give Karabakh back to Azeris..

    But then again, the actions of our president tells us a different story.. who knows, he may give Karabakh to Azeris on a silver platter if someone does not pull him off this game..

    Hope it does not get to that …

    Long Live Armenia and Karabakh

  7. Aram said:

    I woud like to urge all armenian politicians from all parties, PLEASE do not fal in the Turkish and Azeri traps. Our history until the beginning of twentieth century clearly demonastrated that we armenians can not and SHOULD NOT trust to Turkish empty promises. Do not forget Youn Turks what they promised and what they did. Nobody ans specially the President of Armenia should not forget that.

    Armenia and Diaspora together and forever, to save and protect our homeland !

  8. Grish Begian said:

    Azerbaijan was not in the world map yet, where Armenians ruled Azerbaijanis land..Armenia lost too many territories to Turkic invaders from Central Asia….

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