Armenia + 1 more

Nagorno-Karabakh: Official says Turkey backs Azerbaijan over territorial exchange

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The question of the status of land corridors linking Armenia and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic on the one hand, and Azerbaijan and its exclave of Nakhichevan on the other, is the single remaining obstacle to a solution to the Karabakh conflict, a source close to the negotiating process told RFE/RL's Armenian Service in Istanbul on 26 June. "The negotiating process has reached a point where the Karabakh conflict can be considered resolved once a solution is found to the problem of corridors," that source said. The source added that Turkey is backing Azerbaijan's demand for an exchange of territory whereby the Meghri corridor would become part of Azerbaijani territory in return for the formal transfer to Armenia of Lachin, which has been under Armenian control for 10 years. The Armenian government rejects that option but is willing to allow "unfettered communication" between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan via Meghri. LF
FORMER ARMENIAN RULING PARTY SLAMS ALLEGED TERRITORIAL EXCHANGE

In a statement released on 25 June, the Armenian Pan-National Movement harshly criticized the Karabakh policy of current President Robert Kocharian, Noyan Tapan reported. Specifically, the statement argued that French reaction to Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev's recent claims that Armenia reneged on an agreed exchange of territory with Azerbaijan proves that Aliev's claim is true (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 and 20 June 2002). The statement brands Kocharian's imputed willingness to bargain away a transit corridor through the southern region of Meghri as "directed against Armenia's territorial integrity and state security" and as "high treason." Also on 25 June, Zhirair Sefilian, who commanded an Armenian battalion during the Karabakh war and now heads an organization opposed to any concessions in the peace process, similarly told journalists in Yerevan that simply for an Armenian to utter the term "[transit] corridor" during peace talks is tantamount to treason, Noyan Tapan reported. LF

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