Politics 19:30 14/12/2018 NKR

Lukashenko: Serzh Sargsyan refused to return five regions to Azerbaijan

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko reflected on the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) conflict settlement, recalling the proposals that Belarus and Russia made in an attempt to help address the issue as he met with Russian reporters on Friday, 14 December, BelTA reports.

Lukashenko said that the matter was discussed in Yerevan at one of the CSTO summits when Serzh Sargsyan was the president of Armenia. He called on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to find a compromise. Belarus and Russia took a consolidated position and promised to deploy a military contingent to provide certain guarantees if such the need arose. 

“I said openly, ‘Listen, seven regions, as they put it, have been occupied.’ Putin and I took a consolidated position (it was at the CSTO summit in Yerevan). We suggested that Armenia should give these five regions back to Azerbaijan. Why not? They were getting empty. He said that if he were to return them, Azerbaijan would cut off the road, occupy Karabakh. Putin and I promised that we would deploy our troops and would not allow them to do this. He turned down the offer then,” the Belarusian leader said.  

Lukashenko said that it was a surprise for him: “Why not? Five districts were getting empty. That would have been the first step. And then Azerbaijan and Armenia would be members of the CSTO and EAEU. That was the condition under which Azerbaijan could join these organizations. Why did he refuse? Belarus could be disregarded but Russia acted as a guarantor that there would be no war if you withdrew from these areas which you acknowledge as belonging to Azerbaijan. It is not about Karabakh,” the president added.

He stressed the importance of a peaceful settlement as, among other things, an important factor for attracting foreign investments.

Lukashenko also revealed details about another unfulfilled project. According to him, a project to lay a product pipeline from Azerbaijan to Georgia was in the works. The Belarusian leader said he had talked about this with the leadership of these countries: “They were laying some pipe. I think it was a gas pipeline. And it was bypassing Armenia.”

He stated that at the time Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev asked him to speak to Serzh Sargsyan to discuss transit through Armenia, which would be beneficial to both sides. “I went to Armenia to talk to Serzh Sargsyan and delivered the message. He turned it down as well. Yet some day this will end in a peaceful settlement,” the Belarusian leader noted.

Source Panorama.am
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