Despite assurances by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan that his government opposes the creation of a so-called “Zangezur Corridor,” Armenia’s National Security Chief Armen Grigoryan said Yerevan and Baku were discussing the possibility of having a road that would link Azerbaijan proper to Nakhichevan.
This announcement was made while President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, once again, touted his plan to create a “Zangezur Corridor,” when speaking at the summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States being held in Istanbul.
Grigoryan said in an interview with Armenia’s Public Television channel that a working group comprised of the deputy prime ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia is exploring ways to create a route to Nakhichevan through Armenia.
Armenia’s National Security Chief said that if Azerbaijan wants to have a road only to Nakhichevan, it would be expedient to use the Khndzoresk-Bichenek section of the highway.
“In return, we will receive the Khndzoresk-Horadiz section [of the road]. But these issues are still under discussion. We are not talking about a corridor, but about providing a road,” Grigoryan said.
This statement comes a day after Azerbaijan informed Armenia that it would begin operating customs checkpoints on 13-mile stretch of the Goris-Kapan Highway. Pashinyan on Thursday told his cabinet that Baku’s actions stem from Yerevan’s opposition to the “Zangezur Corridor,” the creation of which he said was out of the question for his government.
Aliyev, in turn, told the Council of Turkic Speaking States that Azerbaijan’s victory in the war brought with it the development of regional communications and transportation links, saying that the opening of the “Zangezur Corridor” was a cornerstone of that plan.
“This [the corridor] will create vast opportunities for the entire region. The corridor has great potential and will unite all the countries in the Turkic world, connecting us to Europe,” Aliyev announced.
According to the ArmInfo news site, Grigoryan did not explain how a 13-mile stretch of road within Armenia’s sovereign territory was transferred to Azerbaijan, without the completion of the process to demarcate and delimit the borders.
When Azerbaijani forces began blocking the Goris-Kapan Highway in late August, Pashinyan announced that he had surrendered that 13-mile stretch to Azerbaijan in December. Last week, Pashinyan explained that he had given the order to pull back troops from the area in order to avoid military escalation on the border.
Grigoryan told Armenia’s Public Television that there are alternative roads to the Goris-Kapan Highway.