Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev

BAKU (RFE/RL) — Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on June 16 warned Armenia against bringing up the status of Nagorno-Karabakh in peace talks with Azerbaijan and again demanded a land corridor passing through Armenian territory.

“Armenia’s leadership must give up attempts to rewrite history,” Aliyev told an international conference in Baku. “History has already been written and there is oral agreement that nobody will talk about the status. Unfortunately, there is talk about that, which could lead to very serious consequences.”

“If Armenia continues to call into question Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity then Azerbaijan will have no choice but do the same [against Armenia,]” he said.

In that context, Aliyev again described Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province as a “historically Azerbaijani territory.”

Aliyev already ruled out any discussions on Karabakh’s status and threatened to lay claim to Armenian territory late last month. The Armenian Foreign Ministry deplored his “bellicose” statements. It said that “negotiations on the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan should be held on the basis of proposals of both sides.”

Aliyev on Thursday also reiterated his demands for a corridor that would connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave through Syunik. He said it should be similar to the existing Russian-controlled Lachin corridor connecting Karabakh and Armenia.

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Aliyev implicitly threatened to resort to military action if the Armenian side continues to oppose such an overland link for Nakhichevan.

“If they don’t ensure that link for us it will be very hard to speak about peace,” he warned.

Armenian leaders have repeatedly rejected such demands. They maintain that Armenian-Azerbaijani agreements brokered by Russia and the European Union call for only conventional transport links between the two South Caucasus states.

In response to a similar statement by Aliyev on May 27, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said that “ambitions for the sovereign territory of the neighboring state, the use of force to achieve these goals call into question the sincerity of Azerbaijan’s intentions to achieve peace in the region.”

“Moreover, the Armenian side believes that the security of Nagorno-Karabakh cannot be taken separately from the peace talks,” the Foreign Ministry said.

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