Saksyan signals partial Armenian withdrawal from Azeri land

Armenian forces could give back some Azeri territory held since the war between the two countries in return for security and self-determination for Nagorno-Karabakh, President said.

Saksyan signals partial Armenian withdrawal from Azeri land


Armenian forces could give back some Azeri territory held since the war between the two countries in return for security and self-determination for the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, President Serzh Sarksyan said.

Ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, backed by Christian Armenia, threw off the rule of Muslim Azerbaijan and occupied seven surrounding districts in a conflict in the early 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.

Diplomats say the return of the largely deserted districts is part of negotiations that have been running for more than 15 years since the war, but the move is highly sensitive for Armenians who see the corridor they form to Nagorno-Karabakh as vital for its security.

Armenian officials rarely speak publicly about the details of a potential peace package which would be crucial to lasting stability in an energy transit region to the West.

Turkey says the districts have to be returned before it can ratify a historic deal with longtime foe Armenia to mend ties and open their border, closed by Ankara in 1993 in solidarity with close ally Azerbaijan during the war.

In comments to the Syrian newspaper Al-Watan and published on Tuesday on his official website, Sarksyan said:

"When the people of Karabakh get a true chance to realise their right to self-determination and mechanisms for security and development are created, then in compromise the Armenian side can consider the return of the regions around Karabakh, preserving the corridor linking Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia."

He warning that "unilateral concessions will deepen the existing dangers and threats".

Nagorno-Karabakh has seen a spike in tensions since Armenia and Turkey announced their rapprochement last year.

Azerbaijan frequently threatens to take back Nagorno-Karabakh by force.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Mart 2010, 02:40
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