Azerbaijan warns against opening of Turkey-Armenia border

ITAR-TASS News Agency
March 24, 2004 Wednesday

Azerbaijan warns against opening of Turkey-Armenia border

By Sevindzh Abdullayeva and Viktor Shulman


The European Union and some influential countries are exerting
serious pressure on Turkey to make it open its border with Armenia,
Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev said.

“If Turkey opens the border with Armenia, the resolution of the
Karabakh conflict will become impossible,” he warned on Wednesday.

“In his this Azerbaijan will lose a very important lever and further
negotiations within the framework of the peace process will be
impossible,” the president told journalists.

He believes this will halt negotiations.

“If the interested parties genuinely want the Karabakh conflict to be
resolved peacefully, they have to stop putting pressure on Turkey,”
Aliyev said.

At the same tine, he expressed confidence that Turkey will not give
in to this pressure. “The Turkish-Azerbaijani brotherhood is above
everything else both for us and for the people of Turkey,” he said.

Aliyev also criticised the OSCE Minsk Group for its inability to play
a positive role in the resolution of the Karabakh conflict.

“The position of the Minsk Group is not translated into efforts to
resolve the conflict and boils down to watching the process,” he

Aliyev said he had repeatedly reminded the Minsk Group co-chairmen
about the need to mediate the peace efforts within the framework of
their mandate. “However when we are told that the presidents of
Azerbaijan and Armenia should come to agreement themselves and the
co-chairmen will support whatever decision they make, it is not
mediation,” the president said.

Evaluating the work of the Minsk Group since its creation 12 years
ago, Aliyev said, “Nothing positive has been done over this time”.

“I cannot say that the Minsk Group was indifferent to the problem. It
tried and tried to contribute to the settlement efforts, but there
has been no result so far,” he said.