Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry: Azerbaijan refuses to allow illegal flights in its airspace
Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 4 /. Trend E. Mehdiyev /
Azerbaijan will not allow illegal flights over its territory, Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov told journalists on Monday, commenting on the statement of head of Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) Nikolai Bordyuzha regarding Khojaly Airport. He said Bordyuzha's statement can be perceived as a rude joke.
Azimov added that Azerbaijan is not going to shoot down civilian aircraft.
"However, there are relevant rules of the Chicago Convention, approved by the government of Azerbaijan. Landing the plane at the airport to prevent any illegal flights also applies to these rules," Azimov said.
Armenia is posing a threat against Azerbaijan by operating flights from Khojaly Airport, he said.
Azimov noted that apart from the fact that it is illegal, there are also political and ideological aspects of the issue.
Earlier, Armenian media reported on the commissioning of the airport at Khojaly in the near future.
Commissioning the airport is an open violation of the Convention on International Civil Aviation [adopted on December 7, 1944 in Chicago], the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported earlier.
In this regard, Azerbaijan will strengthen the legal level use of the application of the Chicago convention.
Azerbaijan banned the use of the airspace over Nagorno-Karabakh occupied by Armenia, as no one can guarantee a safe air corridor in the area, the head of the Azerbaijani Civil Aviation Administration, Arif Mammadov said earlier.
He said Armenia's steps towards the operation of the airport are attempts to violate international aviation law. This air space belongs to Azerbaijan, so its use by Armenia is illegal.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the European Civil Aviation Conference (ICAC) also support the position of Azerbaijan on this issue.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France and the U.S. - are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.