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Baku says creating visa-free regime between breakaway regions illegal

24 February 2016 16:14 (UTC+04:00)
Baku says creating visa-free regime between breakaway regions illegal

Creating a visa-free regime between breakaway regions is illegal, Hikmet Hajiyev, spokesperson for Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, said while commenting on the information about the possibility of creation of a visa-free regime between the breakaway regions of Azerbaijan and Georgia – Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhazia.

Azerbaijan recognizes Georgia’s territorial integrity, and this position was once again reflected in the Tbilisi Statement adopted at the 5th trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, Hajiyev told reporters on February 24

A large-scale military action was launched between Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia on August 8, 2008. Later, Russian troops occupied Tskhinvali and expelled the Georgian military. Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in late August. In response, Tbilisi ended diplomatic relations with Moscow and called the two unrecognized republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia the occupied territories.

Hajiyev added that the Ministry urges Azerbaijani citizens not to visit the areas, which are not under the control of the central government of Georgia, without permission of relevant bodies.

He further noted that Armenians established an illegal regime in Azerbaijan`s occupied lands. “The rules of visa registration in the territory of Azerbaijan are being regulated by the Migration Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Any other activity beyond this framework is illegal. On its website, Azerbaijan`s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned about traveling to this unrecognized place.”

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

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