Azerbaijan assesses damage inflicted to Nahkchivan by Armenian occupation
By Sara Rajabova
Azerbaijan is calculating the damage to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of the country inflicted by Armenia.
A working group engaged in the evaluation of the damage inflicted to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, led by Azerbaijani parliament member, professor Khanhuseyn Kazimli, has started the process of estimating the damage.
As a result of the Armenian aggression and separatism in the early 1990s, overland communications between the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and the rest of Azerbaijan were completely broken off.
Explosions and destruction on the railroad and terror acts against the civilian population completely disrupted the railway communication, which ended with the blockade of Nakhchivan, a statement of the working group issued on September 18 says.
Due to the blockade deliberately created by Armenia, the Nakhchivan economy sustains damage amounting to hundreds of millions of manats every year, the statement said.
"If the railroad had worked so far, then at the present, the freight transportation could increase two to three-fold compared to the Soviet times. This would lead to even greater development and prosperity of Nakhchivan. All the damage inflicted to the economy and cultural life of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic as a result of the termination of the overland communications with (the rest of) Azerbaijan for more than 20 years, as well as the funds allocated throughout these years from the Azerbaijani budget for NAR's protection, must be paid by Armenia as compensation," it said.
In addition to having occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory, Armenia has groundless claims to Nakhchivan, an ancient Azerbaijani land.
For over two decades, Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in conflict which emerged over Armenia's territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor. Since a war in the early 1990s, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. A fragile ceasefire has been in place since 1994, but long-standing efforts by US, Russian and French mediators have been largely fruitless so far. Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on its pullout from the neighboring country's territories.