Zangezur corridor: Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement seems far away
Since the truce between Armenia and Azerbaijan, signed in November 2020, the two countries have been discussing the creation of the Zangezur railway corridor that will connect them. However, judging by recent events, the two countries do not seem to get along. Railway Supply magazine writes about this with reference to RailFreight.
Last week, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry criticized Armenia for evading commitments on the Zangezur corridor. What sparked Azerbaijan’s criticism was Armenia’s request to put checkpoints on the line. The demand was made public by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Twitter on October 17. In a tweet, Pashinyan stated that the proposal for three checkpoints on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border “has been officially circulating for several months now.”
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The Zangezur corridor would be very relevant for Azerbaijan. This is because it will connect Azerbaijan with its exclave, the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, and with Iran via the Syunik region in southern Armenia. The corridor is part of a Soviet-era railway network that has been closed since the start of the first Karabakh war in 1988.
The opening of these lines, including the Zangezur corridor, was put forward by Turkey with the aim of reuniting the Turkic world. Turkey views this corridor as a solution to the blockade that Armenia imposed on Turkey and Azerbaijan as a result of the second Karabakh war in 2020.
Armenia is currently also facing challenges when it comes to its presence in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). Russia, which launched INSTC, gave Armenia an ultimatum that if it does not do its part in lifting the blockade on Azerbaijan and Turkey, then it will not benefit from INSTC.
The situation becomes more complicated when considering some of the railway links between Azerbaijan and Iran, which Armenia does not recognize because they are located in the disputed zone of Nagorno-Karabakh.
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