“Gas pipeline from Armenia to Khankendi is illegal” - comment from Baku
In recent days, the issue of providing natural gas to the part of Karabakh, where the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation is deployed, has become more acute. The population of this part of Azerbaijan was left without heat. Sources in Khankendi (Armenians call this city Stepanakert) point to the closure of “a supposed valve installed by the Azerbaijani side”. What do people in Baku think about this?
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JAMnews turned to political observer Azer Karimov for comment.
“The gas pipeline from Armenia to Khankendi is illegal in itself”
“It is difficult to talk about anything specific here, because there has not been a single official statement regarding the provision of natural gas to the residents of Khankendi and other nearby settlements. And there are reasons for that.
The main one is that the gas pipeline from Armenia, which, as I understand it, runs along the Lachin corridor and in some places passes through the territory under the control of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, is illegal in itself. In other words, according to the documents, it simply does not exist.
Legally speaking, there should be interstate agreements to provide natural gas to parts of Azerbaijan from the territory of another state.
There are no interstate agreements between Armenia and Azerbaijan yet. Ideally, Armenia could supply gas to Khankendi while taking the same amount of gas from Azerbaijan.
If Azerbaijan provides natural gas to almost the entire southern part of Europe, then it won’t cost is much to supply gas to Karabakh. But this is not a matter that can be resolved immediately, the old gas pipeline is completely destroyed, it will take time to build a new one through the Aghdam region. At this time, it would be possible to agree on deliveries from Armenia in exchange for the corresponding volume from Azerbaijan to the gas distribution network of Armenia itself.
We have such experience. If you remember, relatively recently Azerbaijan supplied gas to Armenia under an agreement with Russia in exchange for the same volume of Russian gas during the repair of the gas pipeline connecting the Russian Federation with Armenia.
The gas pipeline to Khankendi through the Aghdam region would make it possible to provide gas to Shusha, as well as nearby settlements, in a relatively short time.
But again, for this, Armenia and Azerbaijan need to sit down at the negotiating table. This issue may become one of the most important ones during the signing of a peace treaty. There are much more important interstate issues there”.
“Peacekeepers do not solve domestic issues”
“Why is the peacekeeping contingent not active in this matter? For the simple reason that Russian peacekeepers, like the joint Russian-Turkish monitoring center, are tasked with ensuring security in the region and monitoring the observance of the ceasefire. The solution of domestic issues is not included in their remit.
But even if it was purely for humanitarian purposes, the peacekeeping contingent has clear boundaries of its powers, which, by the way, have not yet been ratified by the Azerbaijani parliament.
Consequently, the peacekeepers cannot order the Azerbaijani military personnel to do something on the territory controlled by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.
It is simply a matter of territory and authority”.
“Illegal Armenian formations still operate in Karabakh”
“Armenia does not want to accept the new realities that have been established in Karabakh after the second Karabakh war. A striking example of this is the nervous reaction of the Armenian Foreign Ministry to the event held in Shusha last week.
It is incomprehensible for one state to protest because of some peaceful event that took place on the territory of a neighboring state – a territory that the entire international community considers part of Azerbaijan.
Instead, Armenia should have thought about implementing the 4th paragraph of the tripartite statement of November 10, 2020, in which it is written in black and white that the Armenian armed forces must leave Karabakh in parallel with the entry of the Russian peacekeeping contingent.
What do we actually see? In the part of Karabakh where the peacekeepers are stationed, illegal Armenian formations are still operating, a self-proclaimed and unrecognized separatist regime is operating, categorically refusing to accept the fact that Khankendi is located on the territory of Azerbaijan.
I think this is the reason for everything that is happening”, Kerimov summed up his thoughts.