Azerbaijan warns no Turkey-Armenia progress without Karabakh solution

Azerbaijan warned Armenia it could not achieve anything in the region unless it makes peace over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan warns no Turkey-Armenia progress without Karabakh solution

Azerbaijan warned Armenia on Friday it could not achieve anything in the region unless it makes peace over Nagorno-Karabakh, and warned its army was ready "to hit any target" to take the breakaway region back.

The comments follow the collapse on Thursday of a U.S. and Russian-backed bid to mend ties between Armenia and Turkey.

Armenia suspended ratification of a deal to establish diplomatic ties and reopen its border with Turkey after Ankara said Armenia should first reach terms with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.

But in Baku, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said nothing would be possible without a solution to Nagorno-Karabakh, something that has evaded mediators since a ceasefire was agreed in 1994.

"You cannot achieve anything in the region without a solution to the Karabakh conflict," Aliyev said in a televised meeting of the government.

Azerbaijan, its military budget swollen by petrodollars, frequently threatens to take the mountain region back by force.

 

"The fact that we continue peaceful negotiations is a major compromise on our part," Aliyev said.

Defence Minister Safar Abiyev told him: "The Azerbaijan army has all the capabilities to hit any target on the territory of Armenia if necessary."

Turkey, which closed the border in 1993 in solidarity with Azerbaijan, has been stung by the backlash in Azerbaijan, an oil and gas exporter and one of the West's key hopes for gas for the planned Nabucco pipeline.

The Armenian-Turkish peace process has also roused opposition within Armenia and the huge Armenian diaspora who says over million Armenians died Ottoman-era 1915 incidents.

Turkey says many Muslim Turks and Kurds, as well as Christian Armenians, were killed in inter-communal violence as Russian forces invaded eastern Anatolia during World War One.

Reuters

Last Mod: 24 Nisan 2010, 11:45
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