Azerbaijan welcomes Turkey-Armenia normalization: FM Bayramov

Azerbaijan welcomes the talks between Turkey and Armenia for the normalization of their ties, the country’s foreign minister said.

Jeyhun Bayramov’s remarks came in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency (AA) in the Turkish capital Ankara, which he visited to attend the 30th Anniversary Reception of Diplomatic Relations with Friendly and Brotherly Countries.

“Azerbaijan has expressed at the highest level that it supports the normalization of Turkey-Armenia relations,” Bayramov reiterated.

“We evaluate the appointment of special representatives by Turkey and Armenia, and three meetings they have held so far quite positively,” he said.

Ankara and Yerevan last December appointed special representatives, Serdar Kılıç and Ruben Rubinyan, for talks on normalizing the ties, with the first meeting held in Moscow on Jan. 14. The second and third meetings were held in Vienna on Feb. 24 and May 3 , respectively.

Also, a historic bilateral meeting took place between the foreign ministers of Turkey and Armenia on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum on March 12.

As part of the efforts, Ankara and Yerevan have also resumed commercial flights as of Feb. 2 after a two-year hiatus.

The two countries have been divided on a range of issues, including Armenia’s occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and the 1915 events between the Ottoman Empire and Armenians, and the border between the two neighboring countries has been closed since 1993.

Azerbaijan favors “establishing normal neighborly relations with Armenia,” Bayramov said. “If Armenia takes appropriate steps, respects international law, and understands regional realities correctly, it will be possible to achieve good results.”

Azerbaijan’s top diplomat stressed the importance of the Southern Gas Corridor project amid the energy crisis in Europe in the wake of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“With the cooperation and potential of Azerbaijan and Turkey, there are opportunities to transfer additional natural gas to the European market,” he said.

On the bilateral relations between Baku and Ankara, Bayramov said they are at an “unprecedented level of closeness.”

“The Shusha Declaration has raised the ties to the level of alliance and set new targets in many areas,” he added.

On relations with Armenia, Bayramov recalled that Armenia occupied 20% of Azerbaijan’s lands in the First Karabakh War, citing it as a reason why the normalization of ties between the two countries were not on the table during that period.

Azerbaijan ended the occupation of Armenia following the Second Karabakh War in 2020, he said, adding that Azerbaijan put aside what happened in the past and called on Armenia to take the necessary steps for the normalization of relations and a peace agreement.

Although there was no response from Yerevan to Baku’s call for about a year, Azerbaijan submitted the basic principles of a possible peace agreement between the two countries to the Yerevan administration at the beginning of this year, Bayramov said.

He also said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian have met two times over the past two months with the initiative of European Council President Charles Michel, with the subjects of a possible peace agreement discussed.

The issues, such as the launch of transportation between the two countries and the start of the boundary determination commissions, were also discussed in Brussels, according to Bayramov.

“It is more necessary for Armenia than anyone else to lay the basis for its development by normalizing relations with neighboring countries, Azerbaijan and Turkey,” he stressed.

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