Karabakh leader urges action on Azerbaijan threats

The international community must take Azerbaijan’s threats of regaining the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh seriously and condemn Baku’s ongoing arms-buying spree, NKR President Bako Sahakyan said.

In France for a three-day visit, Bako Sahakian told AFP he saw no signs of a breakthrough in peace talks and warned that Azerbaijan was stoking tensions with enormous arms purchases.

“We can only be worried by the policy of militarisation and over-arming undertaken by Azerbaijan, because there are also clear and explicit threats against our country,” he said.

“The international community must react to this situation,” he added.

But he said the negotiations should be expanded to include representatives of the authorities in Karabakh, which is home to about 150,000 people.

“To have real and serious progress in the negotiating process the format must be re-established to have participants from Nagorno Karabakh,” Sahakyan said.

He said he believed a negotiated solution was possible and insisted authorities in Karabakh would not be the ones to start a new war.

“It is a complex conflict, you cannot expect a solution from one day to the next. But there is no alternative to peace and dialogue,” Sahakyan said.

Sahakyan said he was hoping to drum up investment in France in the hopes of boosting the region’s small economy, which relies mainly on agriculture, manufacturing and some mining.

He said he also expected progress soon on one of the region’s key efforts – resuming commercial flights into a revamped airport in the capital, Stepanakert.

Sahakian said Karabakh was “not very far” from being prepared to restore flights into the region and that he hoped they could resume this year.

“This initiative must not be linked with resolving the conflict or be seen in this context,” Sahakian said. “Civil flights that will be established between Yerevan and Stepanakert are aimed simply at helping us emerge from the isolation that has been imposed on us.”


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