Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey meet in Samarkand, September 15, 2022

Aliyev Insists on Major Concessions by Armenia

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By Aza Babayan

SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan (Azatutyun.am) — Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on Friday, September 16, that Armenia must accept his terms of a bilateral peace treaty and open a land corridor connecting Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave.

Speaking at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan, Aliyev also blamed Yerevan for this week’s large-scale fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

“Azerbaijan presented Armenia with five basic principles of the peace treaty which are based on mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he said in a speech. “We must now start [formal] discussions on the draft without preconditions and artificial delays.”

Those principles were first put forward in March. The Armenian government repeatedly said afterwards that they are acceptable to it principles but should also be complemented with other elements relating to Nagorno-Karabakh’s future status and security. Baku ruled out any talks on Karabakh, saying that Yerevan should recognize Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh through the peace treaty.

Aliyev also reiterated Baku’s demands for the opening of the “Zangezur corridor” that would pass through Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province which also borders Iran.

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“The launch of the Zangezur corridor will further increase the transport capacity of regional countries,” he said.

The Armenian side rejects these demands, saying that it can only agree to conventional transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan envisaged by a Russian-brokered agreement that stopped the 2020 war in Karabakh.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said on Wednesday that Azerbaijan unleashed military aggression against Armenia in an attempt to force Yerevan to sign the peace deal sought by Baku and cede Armenian territory for the “exterritorial corridor.”

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has ruled out such unilateral concessions. Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Friday, he demanded that Azerbaijani troops withdraw from Armenian border areas captured by them this week and in May 2021.

Pashinyan had been scheduled to attend the summit held in the Uzbek city of Samarkand. But he cancelled his participation after the outbreak of the border clashes on Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has personally intervened to try to halt the hostilities. He was due to meet with Aliyev on the sidelines of the summit later on Friday. A Kremlin spokesman said that the Armenian-Azerbaijani

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