Pashinyan presents re-branded "Armenian Crossroads" project on unblocking communications

The Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, presented details of the re-formulated transport communication plan earlier today.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, Pashinyan announced that the “North-South” project was being re-named as the “North-South, East-West” project, also known as the “Armenian Crossroads”. Clarifying, he noted that there would be one North-South branch, connecting Armenia with Iran and Russia, and another, the East-West branch, which would link “Azerbaijan, Armenia and in the future Nakhchivan and Turkey”.

The Armenian PM emphasised how important these projects were, specifically the north-south part, which will cost several hundred million dollars and will represent the “largest investment project in the history of independent Armenia”. The Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures, Gnel Sanosyan, said that the road section would be “a well-maintained, safe road in line with modern standards” of over 500 km long.

Pashinyan added that pre-qualification tenders for the Sisian-Kajaran section of the North-South had been announced.. He expressed hope that there would be a construction company by the end of the year who would implement the work.

Discussing the East-West section of the project, he affirmed that the design work had not yet been completed, but that it "would be quickly implemented as political agreements are reached". He added that the technical and design work had already begun on the Armenian section of the railway linking Azerbaijan with its enclave of Nakhchivan. "We hope that soon the agreements will be recorded in the form of a document and de jure the whole process will begin in full," he said.

Following a meeting between Pashinyan and the Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev, in Brussels last December, it was agreed to proceed with the restoration of railway lines. However, while the sides are on the same page in theory, Pashinyan called last week for the agreement to be legally recorded on paper and signed. Moreover, the full opening of road communications, in line with the trilateral agreement, is yet to be agreed upon. There remains work to be done in unblocking communications, in particular since Armenia and Azerbaijan still disagree over the use of checkpoints and border controls on the portion of the railroad linking Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan. Nevertheless, the recent steps, including the announcement of an Armenian working group to examine these issues, aiming to open communications in the region are seen as positive steps towards the economic development of the region, and normalisation of relations between the two neighbours

Source: with agencies
Photo: Railway; commonspace archive