Toivo Klaar, the European Union’s special representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia (file photo)

EU Envoy Deplores Azeri ‘Threats Against Armenia’


YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — A senior European Union diplomat on March 25 denounced what he called “threats against Armenia” made through the Azerbaijani media amid ongoing border disputes between the two countries.

“Threats against Armenia in Azerbaijani media channels are unacceptable,” Toivo Klaar, the EU’s special envoy to the South Caucasus, tweeted late on Monday. “Genuine negotiations on border delimitation are needed and all territorial disputes must be settled peacefully and as part of an agreed process.”

Klaar did not specify those threats or explicitly blame the Azerbaijani government for them. Virtually all media outlets operating in Azerbaijan are controlled by President Ilham Aliyev’s regime in one way or another.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry rejected Klaar’s statement on March 26. The ministry spokesman, Aykhan Hajizade, said the EU diplomat ignores Armenian media calls for continuing the “occupation” of Azerbaijani lands and deplores instead “the legitimate discourse about the return of Azerbaijani villages.”

In that regard, Hajizade repeated Baku’s demands for unconditional Armenian withdrawal from four ruined and uninhabited border villages that had been controlled by Azerbaijan until 1991-1992. He said they are “not the subject of a territorial dispute.”

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan expressed readiness to hand over those areas to Baku without ensuring the liberation of any Armenian territory occupied by Azerbaijani forces in 1991-1992. The move provoked an uproar from residents of nearby Armenian border villages, opposition leaders and other critics of Pashinyan.

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