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Azerbaijan ‘won’t use force to create Armenia corridor’

Azerbaijan has no intention of taking military action to create a land corridor in southern Armenia, the foreign policy adviser to Azerbaijan’s president says.

Azerbaijan’s military operation last week to take control of the ethnic Armenian-dominated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh has stoked Armenian fears that Azerbaijan may now use force to create a corridor through Armenia to Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan exclave.

But Hikmet Hajiyev, foreign policy adviser to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, said his country only wanted to create transport links to Nakhchivan through Armenia, which he said would benefit both countries and the wider region.

“Azerbaijan doesn’t have any military goals or objectives on the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, that’s… completely out of Azerbaijan’s agenda,” he told Reuters.

“Our suggestion to Armenia is about building connectivity lines, transport lines, in a very peaceful manner,” he said, speaking in Brussels after European Union-hosted talks with his Armenian counterpart, Armen Grigoryan, and European officials.

Hajiyev’s comments came the day after Aliyev held talks with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan at which he hinted at the prospect of creating such a land corridor, which would also give Azerbaijan a direct link to close ally Turkey.

An influential Telegram channel linked to Karabakh Armenians called “Re:public of Artsakh” said Aliyev’s words looked ominous.

“The new target of Azerbaijan and Turkey is Syunik (a province in southern Armenia through which such a corridor would pass). They are already openly declaring it. Active preparations for war are underway,” it said.

At the Brussels talks, officials discussed a possible meeting between Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at a European summit in Granada, Spain, on October 5.

The EU said in a statement after the talks that it “believes that the possible meeting in Granada should be used by both Yerevan and Baku to reiterate publicly their commitment to each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty”.

The Armenian government made no immediate comment on the talks.

Meanwhile, the death toll from an explosion and fire at a fuel depot in Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday has jumped to 125, Interfax Azerbaijan reported on Tuesday, citing the Armenian health ministry.

The number of victims rose sharply after the Karabakh authorities reported 20 dead on Tuesday morning.

The blast occurred as thousands of ethnic Armenians flee the breakaway enclave after their fighters were defeated by Azerbaijan in a lightning military operation.

The bodies of those killed in the blast, near Stepanakert, Karabakh’s capital, have been transported to Armenia, the Armenian health ministry said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that the explosion had resulted in hundreds of burn victims.

The ICRC said that it was delivering medical assistance to those suffering from burns and relocating some people by ambulance, citing full hospitals and traffic as challenges.

On Tuesday, the Armenian government said at least 28,120 of the 120,000 ethnic Armenians who call Nagorno-Karabakh home had already crossed into Armenia.

https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/conflict/azerbaijan-wont-use-force-to-create-armenia-corridor-c-12027278 Azerbaijan ‘won’t use force to create Armenia corridor’

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