The Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk has shed some light on the ongoing talks taking place in a trilateral format between himself and his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts on unblocking regional transport connections.
In an interview with Russia's TASS news agency published on Sunday (18 June), Overchuk said that the draft document proposes to start the unblocking of regional transport connections with the re-launch of the Yeraskh-Julfa-Meghri-Horadiz railway. The document is also based on respect for the sovereignty of the parties, and it stipulates the main approaches regarding the procedure of border crossing between Armenia and Azerbaijan, said Overchuk.
"None of the parties is questioning the reality that individual parts of this road will appear under the jurisdiction of the country on whose territory they are located, therefore regarding the road Azerbaijani legislation will be used in Azerbaijan and Armenian legislation will be used in Armenia. These are seemingly obvious things, but given the relations that have formed between the two states and peoples this must be stipulated," Overchuk said.
"The biggest problem is trust" - Russian Deputy PM
"The biggest problem is trust. That’s precisely why the negotiations are proceeding slowly. After all, regular people, Azerbaijanis and Armenians and citizens of other countries will use the road. How will they interact while crossing the border, how will their safety be ensured while traveling on the territory of the other state. This is the main question today that we want to give an answer to, to be sure that nothing bad will happen to these people in the territory of another country. And of course, we are all affected by what’s happening on the border. It would be far easier to find solutions if the shooting stopped," Overchuk said.
"Therefore, the parties take pauses, involve experts, subject any proposals and decisions to a very thorough and verified analysis so that everything really works as it should between the countries that are entering, hopefully, a new peaceful stage of relations," he added.
He noted that the draft document has been "nearly entirely" agreed upon at the deputy prime ministerial level, however the main outstanding issue of how regular Armenians and Azerbaijanis will interact while crossing the border still requires work.
“This is a highly important part that thus far doesn’t give the answer as to when unblocking will happen.”