AzerNews, Azerbaijan
Aug 30 2013

30 August 2013, 15:24 (GMT+05:00)
By Sara Rajabova

Foreign nationals who visit the Armenian-occupied Azerbaijani
territories without permission of Azerbaijan do so for their own PR,
a senior official said on August 30.

Elnur Aslanov, head of the Presidential Administration's Political
Analysis and Information Provision Department, said that "looking
at the list of these people, it is clear that these are low and
uncivilized people who organize various scandals for the purpose of
their own PR".

According to Aslanov, their visits do not contribute to the recognition
of Nagorno-Karabakh, referring to an Azerbaijani region occupied
by Armenia along with seven adjacent regions since a war in the
early 1990s.

"These people visit the occupied lands of Azerbaijan to meet their
subjective and mercantile interests. We are not concerned over this.

Our concern is that countries do not impose sanctions on such
citizens," he said.

At the invitation of Armenian-Russian Cooperation, a Moscow-based
organization, a number of Russian journalists have paid a visit to
Armenia and the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region. The group which
illegally visited the occupied territories of Azerbaijan included
TV host Anna Chapman, member of the Public Chamber of Russia Denis
Dvornikov, public figure, human rights activist Sergei Karnaukhov,
correspondent of the Rossiyskiy Reporter (Russian Reporter) magazine
and correspondent of DairyNews news agency Alexandra Ryzhkova,
and others.

Azerbaijan has repeatedly warned foreign officials and diplomats
over visits to the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia,
saying this contradicts international law. The Foreign Ministry
has stated that such visits, paid without prior notification of the
relevant authorities of Azerbaijan, are illegal and damaging to the
settlement process on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Elman Abdullayev recently said
that persons who visited Nagorno-Karabakh will be considered persona
non grata in Azerbaijan. Abdullayev said that since visits to the
occupied territories are illegal, the visit of the said persons is
a violation of the law "On State Border" of Azerbaijan.

Recently, the Foreign Ministry published a list of those declared
persona non grata over illegal visits to the Armenian-occupied
territories, which included 335 people.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict emerged in 1988 when Armenia made
territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since the 1990s war that
displaced over one million Azerbaijanis, Armenian armed forces have
occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized
territory. The UN Security Council's four resolutions on Armenian
withdrawal have not been enforced to this day.

Peace talks aimed at resolving the long-standing conflict, mediated by
Russia, France and the U.S. through the OSCE Minsk Group, are underway
on the basis of a peace outline proposed by the Minsk Group co-chairs
and dubbed the Madrid Principles. The negotiations have been largely
fruitless so far.