"Sooner or later, an Azerbaijani post will appear on the Lachin road." Comments from Baku
Azeri checkpoint in Lachin
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, at a meeting with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, stated the need to establish checkpoints in the Lachin and so-called Zangezur corridors. “Sooner or later, an Azerbaijani post will appear on the Lachin road,” political scientist Elkhan Shahinoglu believes.
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“Baku has no alternative”
“The President of Azerbaijan stated that earlier this proposal was sent to Armenia through unofficial channels. In Munich, the proposal was announced officially. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan did not express his attitude toward the proposal,” according to Shahinoglu.
Shahinoglu says that even if Pashinyan does not agree, “nothing prevents the country from establishing border and customs posts on its borders with neighboring states”:
“Sooner or later, an Azerbaijani post will appear on the Lachin road. The Azerbaijani Armed Forces will take this road under their control. And at the very end of the road, border and customs posts will begin to function. Baku has no alternative.
Of course Pashinyan, as before, will refer to the tripartite statement of November 10, 2020, and say that the road should be open. But the appearance of border and customs posts on the state border does not contradict the tripartite statement. The road is thus not closed.
Nikol Pashinyan, for his part, has already set up border and customs posts in Zangezur in Armenia. If he claims that the documents of Azerbaijani citizens will be checked when using the corridor, the same rule should be introduced on the Lachin road.
Azerbaijani border guards and customs officers must check the documents of those entering the country from Armenia. Thus the supply of weapons to Karabakh and entry to Azerbaijan without visas will be prevented.”
“The United States wants to take the initiative”
For the first time in the post-war period, a meeting was held between Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan at the initiative of the US, political observer Agshin Karimov comments.
“By elementary logic, the United States wants to take the initiative in the negotiation process into their own hands. And for this reason Georgia‘s mediation is being promoted.
Proceeding from this, the next game of the Kremlin in relations with Georgia becomes real,” Karimov says.
“Punishing Georgia for this initiative, or steps equivalent to this, contradicts the strategic interests of Azerbaijan and Turkey. Negotiations between Russia and Azerbaijan-Turkey will be built in the spirit of protecting Georgia from Ankara and Baku.”
Karimov added that “the security conference does not preclude the use of force in the name of peace”:
“Aliyev’s proposal for posts on the border is not an indication that Azerbaijan has renounced its maximalist goals. This is just a maneuver to influence the course of the process and the longer term.”
“As for the results, I would note the effectiveness of the conference as a platform for achieving peace. But the differences between the parties in their plans to achieve peace make the situation in our region even more tense,” Karimov concluded.
What did Aliyev say?
“If we are talking about the delimitation of borders, then without a checkpoint it is impossible. If we are talking about opening communications, then checkpoints should be created both in the Zangezur corridor and on the border of the Lachin region with Armenia,” Aliyev said in an interview with Azerbaijani journalists immediately after negotiations.
He also talked about the situation on the Lachin road:
“Of course, we also discussed the situation on the Lachin-Khankendi road. I again stated the position of Azerbaijan. I explained that there was no question of any blockade.
Since December 12, more than Red Cross 2,500 trucks and vehicles have passed. If the road is blocked, how did these vehicles get through? This is an unfounded accusation against Azerbaijan and we reject it.
I would like to note that at all the meetings I held this position was accepted with understanding. The EU understands our position. We rightly demand an end to the illegal exploitation of our fields. I am confident that our environmental activists will continue their honorable mission until our demand is met.”