Azerbaijani official: No intention to secure corridor via Armenia by force
Azerbaijan does not intend to secure a land corridor to its Nakhchivan exclave through southern Armenia by military action, the foreign policy adviser to Azerbaijan's president said on Tuesday.
Azerbaijan's military offensive last week to take control of Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh has stoked Armenian fears that Baku may now use force to create a corridor to Nakhchivan through Armenia.
What further adds to Yerevan's concerns is territorial claims of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who said after imposing a blockade in Nagorno-Karabakh last December:
"Present-day Armenia is our land (...) When I repeatedly said this before, they tried to object and allege that I have territorial claims. I am saying this as a historical fact. If someone can substantiate a different theory, let them come forward."
Hikmet Hajiyev, foreign policy adviser to Aliyev, told Reuters today after EU-hosted talks with his Armenian counterpart, Armen Grigoryan, and European officials in Brussels:
"Azerbaijan doesn't have any military goals or objectives on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, that's completely out of Azerbaijan's agenda (...) Our suggestion to Armenia is about building connectivity lines, transport lines, in a very peaceful manner."
Hajiyev's comments came the day after Aliyev held talks with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan at which he hinted at the prospect of creating such a land corridor, which would also give Azerbaijan a direct link to close ally Turkey.
At the Brussels talks, officials discussed a possible meeting between Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at a European summit in Granada, Spain, on 5 October.