RUSSIAN TOURIST FIRM ORGANISES TRIPS TO OCCUPIED NAGORNO KARABAKH

Trend
Feb 16 2012
Azerbaijan

Russian tourism company Astravel is organising historical and cultural
trips along with Central and Southern Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh
which is occupied by Armenians.

The company posted the following announcement on its website
(http://www.astravel.ru/catalog/CIScountries/Armenia/tour/1672),
Trend reported on Thursday.

The information says that during these trips running for seven days
and six nights, tourists, will not only be able to visit Armenian
cities, but may also visit Nagorno Karabakh, including Shusha, Agdere
and familiarise themselves with the cultural and historical monuments.

Head of the tourism department of the Azerbaijani culture and tourism
ministry Aydin Ismiyev told Trend their department had received no
information, but noted that the ministry has repeatedly informed the
World Tourism Organisation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
similar information.

Azerbaijan has no control over such trips, the head of the ministry's
domestic tourism department Mahir Gahramanov told Trend on Thursday.

However the ministry has always expressed its displeasure at such
circumstances.

"In such cases we always express our protest and inform the Foreign
Ministry and other authorised departments about this, but we cannot
constantly monitor it," he said.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988
when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian
armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992,
including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The
co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France and the U.S. -
are currently holding peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four
resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the
surrounding regions.