September 15, 2011 - 14:41 AMT
Baku threats unrelated to stalled Stepanakert airport opening

Military expert Artsrun Hovhannisyan commented on the prospects of Stepanakert airport, which is currently under construction.

Dwelling on earlier Baku threats to shoot down civilian planes on Yerevan-Stepanakert route, the expert named the possibility highly remote.

At a news conference in Yerevan, Hovhannisyan denied the threats as the reason behind postponed opening of the airport, noting, “the airport being of major importance to the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, it's essential to secure its proper functioning by solving all technical issues, which can't be achieved in a hurry.”

The Nagorno Karabakh Republic is pressing ahead with plans to reopen the country’s sole civilian airport that was shut down nearly two decades ago. Flights to and from the airport, located 8 kilometers east of Stepanakert, had been discontinued in 1991 amid intensifying armed clashes in and around Karabakh. Transport communication between the territory and the outside world has since been carried out only by land, via Armenia.