EU Warns Azerbaijan Over Territory Claims:
The EU has issued several statements including warnings to Azerbaijan that diplomatic relations will be severely injured if President Aliyev carries out his proposed plan of taking control of eight Armenian villages, as well as plans to create an extraterritorial corridor to the Azerbaijani Nakhichevan exclave, an Azerbaijani claimed autonomous republic, to the west of Southern Armenia.
European Commission spokesperspn Peter Stano speaking to Armenpress said: “The European Union has spared no diplomatic efforts to help reach a mutually acceptable settlement of the conflict over the past few years… We have been in close contact with the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaderships, tirelessly reiterating our support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity of both countries and the resolution of issues exclusively by peaceful means. Our communication channels remain open… The EU has been using every opportunity to pass clear messages to Azerbaijan that any violation of Armenia’s territorial integrity would be unacceptable and will have severe consequences for our relations… We remain firm and steadfast in this stance… The President of the European Council Charles Michel, the High Representative /Vice-President Josep Borrell and the EU Special Representative Toivo Klaar continue their engagement for a sustainable and lasting peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan,”
Azerbaijan’s Justification and Intentions:
Azerbaijani leader Illham Aliyev made these threats in recent territorial claims where-in he said Armenia must give control of the villages which he calls as Azerbaijani instead of Armenian, as well as designate land between the exclave and Azerbaijan so as to create a corridor for goods supply. Additionally he seeks to prevent Armenian goods inspection on Nakhichevan cargo back and forth.
Aliyev’s backing for these claims was that under Soviet Azerbaijan these areas were delineated to their nation, Soviet borders were redrawn between Armenia and Azerbaijan several times and neither side has accepted the various choices for decades. All eight villages claimed exist on or near the border, and one next to Nakhichevan. Aliyev said in a speech on January 10th: “As for the occupied Azerbaijani villages, there are enclave and non-enclave villages. The villages that are not enclave, the four villages should be returned to Azerbaijan without any preconditions. The villages that are enclave, a separate expert group should be established and this issue should be discussed. Azerbaijan believes that all enclaves should be returned. The roads leading to these enclaves should have the necessary conditions and the people living there should be accommodated in these enclaves… Azerbaijan is not going back anywhere. Neither from the positions of May 2021 nor from the positions of September 2022. Azerbaijan is not taking a step back because that border must be defined… Armenia continues to occupy Azerbaijan’s villages, and this is unacceptable. This issue will be clarified during the meeting of the commissions at the end of this month [January of 2023].”
Aliyev also announced new and planned Azerbaijani infrastructure and city building projects in the recently seized Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Background and Regional Conflict:
In recent years when Azerbaijan has made similar demands and claims for Armenian territory which is not met, it follows with an invasion that seizes the land by force utilizing its larger military force and population to brute strength attacks and hold frontlines that have steadily grown, such as the recent seizure of the enclave of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh. Supply by Turkey and Israel to Azerbaijan of advanced military technology and armaments such as drones has enabled them to swiftly strike Armenian defenses and vehicles before sending in ground troops to overwhelm thinned out positions and then occupy them.