Official Yerevan also linked Aliyev’s latest statements with a weekend skirmish on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border which left one Armenian soldier dead.
The Armenian Defense Ministry said the soldier, Davit Vartanian, was fatally wounded on Saturday when his military unit deployed in southeastern Syunik province came under cross-border fire from nearby Azerbaijani positions. Baku claimed that its troops did not violate the ceasefire.
The incident happened one day after Aliyev’s visit to the Zangelan district bordering Syunik. Speaking there, Aliyev ruled out any negotiations with Armenia on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. He said Yerevan has agreed to exclude the issue from the agenda of planned negotiations on an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty.
Aliyev at the same time warned the Armenian side against insisting on an agreement on Karabakh’s status. He said Baku could respond by laying claim to Armenian territory. In that regard, he again referred to Syunik as an “ancient land” of Azerbaijan.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry deplored Aliyev’s “bellicose” statements and “arbitrary and false interpretations” of his agreements reached with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.
In a statement, the ministry said that “negotiations on the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan should be held on the basis of proposals of both sides.”
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry dismissed the criticism later on Saturday. It said Yerevan should come to terms with “new realities in the region.”
In March this year, Azerbaijan presented Armenia with five elements which it wants to be at the heart of the peace treaty. They include a mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity. Yerevan said they should be complemented by other issues relating to Karabakh’s future status and the security of its population.
Speaking after his latest talks with Aliyev held in Brussels on May 22, Pashinian indicated that the two sides continue to disagree on the agenda of the talks on the peace accord.
Aliyev on Friday also repeated his claims that he and Pashinian agreed to open a “Zangezur corridor” that will connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave through Syunik. The Armenian government denied them as well, with Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan insisting that Yerevan and Baku have been discussing only conventional transport links.
“The existence of any corridor in the territory of Armenia is out of the question,” Mirzoyan said in written comments. “This is not even debatable.”