The Armenian government has not yet provided coordinates for a planned road and railway between Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan, an exclave of Azerbaijani territory currently reachable only through Armenia, Azerbaijan’s president said Tuesday.
Plans for such a path, also known as the Zangezur corridor, were contained in the November 2020 pact ending the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh – Azerbaijani territory formerly under Armenian occupation for nearly 30 years – but since then, Armenia has not cooperated.
Ilham Aliyev made the remarks in a meeting with a delegation led by Toivo Klaar, the EU’s envoy for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, according to a statement by the presidency.
Aliyev said his meeting with Azerbaijani Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on April 6, chaired by EU Council head Charles Michel, was productive and it was an initial step for peace negotiations as they agreed to establish a working group along with a border commission to move towards a peace treaty.
However, Aliyev said there were a number of issues the Armenian side should clarify and one of them was the issue of land and rail connections between Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan.
- Armenian delays
The process of constructing the railway is still ongoing, and 60% of the section within Azerbaijani territory has been completed, according to the president, adding that the project is expected to be completed by 2023.
“Armenia hasn’t even launched the feasibility studies yet... This indicates that the process might take longer,” he said, referring to Armenian-related delays.
As for the motorway, Aliyev said it would reach the Armenian borders by late 2023, and Pashinyan did not specify the geographical coordinates essential for the project during talks in Brussels, adding that a Feb. 2 video conference with the premier yielded no concrete results.
Relations between Baku and Yerevan have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
When new clashes erupted in 2020, Azerbaijani troops liberated swathes of occupied territory from Armenian troops before Russia brokered a cease-fire.
The three countries later agreed to develop economic ties and infrastructure for the benefit of the entire region.