Aliyev: Weapons Smuggled by Civilian Planes to Armenia
“According to the information at our disposal, smuggled weapons were sent from the Georgian territory to Armenia by civilian and cargo planes,” Baku-based Report News Agency quoted Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev as saying in an interview with Turkish TV channel A Haber on October 16.
Aliyev claimed that “rich Armenian businessmen” living in Russia have purchased an IL-76 plane that is being used to smuggle Russian Armenians as mercenaries in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as anti-tank and air defense weaponry to Armenia.
“I can say that Iran and Georgia have closed the airspace and land roads for the delivery of weapons to Armenia,” Aliyev stated, expressing gratitude to the governments of the two neighboring countries. However, the Azerbaijani leader asserted that the military goods are being declared as civilian cargo and transported illegally.
President Aliyev stated that the Azerbaijani government has addressed the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regarding the matter.
Earlier in October, the National Security Council of Georgia stated that the issuance of permits for transiting military cargo through its territory towards both Azerbaijan and Armenia was suspended as soon as tensions erupted in the Nagorno-Karabakh.
Regardless, Tbilisi has frequently faced accusations of military transit through its territory, with officials denouncing various allegations, such as allowing the transfer of Syrian militants, as well as arms transit to Azerbaijan.
Most recently, deputy FM Lasha Darsalia denounced media reports that military shipments through Georgia are carried out via civil fights as “manipulation of information,” asserting that “the flights taking place in the airspace of Georgia are of humanitarian and civil nature only.”
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