Vardanyan's plan doomed to fail as Khankendi airport remains closed

Politics Materials 10 January 2023 16:27 (UTC +04:00)
Vardanyan's plan doomed to fail as Khankendi airport remains closed
Parvin Mirzazade
Parvin Mirzazade
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 10. Since the peaceful protest of Azerbaijani NGOs has started on the Lachin-Khankendi road, the Armenian side has been hysterically blaming Azerbaijan for the so-called "blockade" of the road, and has been calling for international community to somehow act upon, Parvin Mirzazade, Ambassador-at-Large of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, writes in his latest article, Trend reports.

As Mirzazade pointed out, the rally is being held in full compliance with Azerbaijani legislation. The demand of the protesters is to allow the expert team to inspect the environmental condition at the 'Gizilbulagh' gold deposit and the 'Damirli' copper-molybdenum deposit, and assess the damage caused by the actions of the company illegally exploiting them, as well as o stop the uncontrolled movement of Armenian vehicles, which do not use the Lachin-Khankendi road or peaceful purposes.

"Since these mines are the main source of income for the separatists, which they use to pay members of illegal armed formations and buy arms, the Armenian side try everything possible to prevent the Azerbaijani side from visiting these territories," he said.

The arrival of Ruben Vardanyan, a fugitive Russian billionaire of Armenian origin, who recently took over separatists in Karabakh, has made it worse. Recently, he has made a statement on the need to open the airport in the city of Khankendi, Mirzazade noted.

"In order to overthrow the hated Pashinyan, who has long vexed and prevented him from taking over, Vardanyan needs to convince the Armenian people that he is exactly what they need to get Armenia out of its deep political and economic crisis. Khankendi airport, in this case, seems like a great solution, a small victory for Vardanyan," he said.

"After the start of the protest of Azerbaijani environmentalists, Vardanyan decided to implement the failed idea of launching the airport once again, this time for "humanitarian" purposes under the pretext of the so-called "blockade". He started to appeal to international organizations, although there are no obstacles to their transportation through the Lachin road," said Mirzazade.

Apparently, Vardanyan needs to resolve this issue in order to win the sympathy of the Armenian people before he starts to fight for power in Armenia, he explained.

Meanwhile, as the author noted, the Armenian side has repeatedly tried to reopen the airspace over the occupied Azerbaijani territories, despite the fact that, according to international conventions, that territory has been recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as a sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. Despite this, in 2012, with the financial support of Yerevan, the airport of Khankendi was reconstructed and renamed. At the same time, the launch of regular flights from Armenia was announced.

"But it wasn’t meant to be. The Azerbaijani aviation authorities immediately addressed ICAO with the appropriate warning on the ban of flights to Khankendi airport. Before any civilian airport can operate, it needs to obtain the appropriate code at ICAO, pass the certification there and meet the flight safety requirements of a respected international organization. Given that the aviation authorities of Azerbaijan are unable to carry out such certification, because the airport is not yet under the control of the Azerbaijani side, it is, therefore, impossible to open it," he said.

At last, the Armenian authorities did not dare to go against international law and did not risk an air blockade. In doing so, the Armenian leadership tried to hide the truth from its own people and has once again blamed Azerbaijan for its failed plans, Mirzazade noted.

The author stressed that Khankendi Airport can be opened for humanitarian purposes only if it is fully controlled by Azerbaijan and certified in accordance with the ICAO requirements, while the entire flight zone over the territory where peacekeepers are temporarily stationed remains a no-fly zone for aircraft, due to the fact that the remains of the Armenian armed forces and illegal armed separatist formations are still present there. Only after their withdrawal from the territory of Azerbaijan it will be possible to consider the partial opening of flights over this territory.

"So, no matter how hard the Armenian leaders try, Azerbaijan's position on this strategic issue will not change. President Ilham Aliyev has repeatedly stressed that only reconciliation and rapid integration of the Armenian population of the Karabakh region into Azerbaijani society will bring peace and tranquility to the region. The unconstructive and provocative actions of the Armenian side aimed at freezing the situation and refusing to hold real peace talks only contribute to the unwinding of new rounds of tension, which may have irreparable consequences for the people of Armenia, and for peace and security in the South Caucasus," Mirzazade said.