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 Wednesday, May 24 2023 14:38
Marianna Mkrtchyan

Leo Docherty is not informed on UK companies intending to develop  mines in Nagorno-Karabakh 

Leo Docherty is not informed on UK companies intending to develop  mines in Nagorno-Karabakh 

ArmInfo.London believes that it will be possible to lift the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh through a  common solution to the conflict, and hopes that the leaders of the  countries of the region will have the courage and determination to  achieve peace. Leo Docherty, Under Secretary of State for Europe of  the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office stated.

So, when asked whether the close alliance of Great Britain with  Turkey and Azerbaijan would interfere with the development of  relations with Armenia, the British diplomat expressed his conviction  that this should not be the case.

"We do have very close allied relations with Turkey as a NATO member  state, and with Azerbaijan, which is a close partner for us,  especially in the energy sector. But these relations should not be an  obstacle in order to have very deep and meaningful relations with  Armenia. I think in terms of our foreign policy, we have a very  ambitious and active foreign policy, which is very active on the  world stage as well," he said, acknowledging that the UK is committed  to being active in the Caucasus region.

According to him, London would like good diplomatic agreements and  security systems to work between all states.

At the same time, Docherty assured that the UK has a balanced foreign  policy and it wants all partners, all states to step forward and take  advantage of these opportunities for security and prosperity to the  extent that it can benefit governments and peoples.  "As for Armenia,  we attach great importance to this, given that you are a young  democracy, an ancient people, an ancient civilization, but with a  young democracy, and we believe that strengthening this democracy is  very important," the diplomat said.

On the issue of intends of British companies to develop the  Nagorno-Karabakh mines, Doherty said he was not aware of the details  and denied any such allegations.  "As I said, we have a transparent  foreign policy and our government has nothing to do with commercial  transactions in this or any other country. I appreciate the fact that  Armenia is a member of the International Extractive Industries  Transparency Initiative, which shows very well whether the extractive  industries are doing their job, but this is not is not the  government's problem, the government should not be involved in all of  this.

The UK hopes that the leaders of the countries of the region will  have the courage and determination to achieve peace," the British  Minister of State for European Affairs said in an interview with   RFE/RL's Armenian Service .

When asked whether the UK has any leverage, apart from calls, to push  Azerbaijan to lift the blockade of the Lachin/Berdzor corridor of the  checkpoint, Docherty said they called on Azerbaijan to take steps to  ensure the full restoration of the free movement of people and goods.

"In our assessment, it is thanks to a common solution that progress  in this direction will be possible, but we note that this situation  has had serious humanitarian consequences. This once again reminds us  why it is very important to find a more courageous solution. We hope  that the leaders countries of the region have the courage,  determination, bravery  to seize the opportunity, achieve peace and  improve the standard of living of the population of their countries,"  the Minister of State for European Affairs added.  It should be noted  that after the only road linking Armenia with Artsakh was blocked by  the so-called eco- activists and representatives of the law  enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan, information was spread in the  media that the Azerbaijani government transferred the management of  the Kashen mine located in Martakert of Artsakh to the British Anglo  Asian Mining Company within the framework of the deal worth 3 billion  dollars signed in July.

Anglo Asian Mining Company, which is officially registered in the UK,  reports on its official website that the concession agreement dated  July 5, 2022 included three mines, with a total area of 340 square  miles. 

One of the mines that Azerbaijan transferred to the company is the  Kashen copper-molybdenum mine in the Martakert region of the Republic  of Artsakh. The media write that the company used the Azerbaijani  name Kashen in its message and said that as of January 2016, the  mine's reserves amounted to 275 thousand tons of copper and 3.2  thousand tons of molybdenum. It is noted that the company used data  previously published by the current operator of the mine, the  Armenian Base Metals company.

It is also reported that one of the shareholders of the British  company is the head of the administration of former US President  George W. Bush, John Sununu (owns 9.3% of the company's shares). It  is noted that other members of the Sununu family are also involved in  the management of the company. Another 3.5% stake is owned by  Limelight Industrial Developments, about which there is no available  public information, the newspaper writes.  Anglo Asian Mining's  largest shareholder is Iranian-born Reza Vaziri, with a 28% stake,  who does business in Azerbaijan.

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