'The Zangazur corridor'

On 20 April the Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, appeared to suggest in an interview with AzTV that if Armenia wasn’t willing, Azerbaijan would implement the provisions for creating the Zangazur corridor unilaterally. The quote as reported by the Azerbaijani state news agency, Azertag: 

“We are implementing the Zangazur corridor, whether Armenia wants it or not. If they do, it will be easier for us to decide, if they do not, we will decide it by force. Just as before and during the war, I said that they must get out of our lands or we will expel them by force. And so it happened. The same will apply to the Zangazur corridor.” 

The creation of a transport corridor connecting the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan with the rest of the country is considered one of the most ambitious possible outcomes of the provisions of the 10 November declaration, and one which potentially could bring important economic gains for the entire region. It is, however, also one of the most controversial ideas emanating from the provisions of the declaration since it will have to pass through Armenian territory.

The Armenian foreign ministry promptly condemned the “threat of force” against the “territorial integrity of Armenia” implied in Aliyev’s statement, adding: “Such statements seriously undermine the regional peace and stability. They reveal the false nature of Azerbaijan's recent statements on peace and reconciliation.” In response, the Azerbaijani  foreign ministry released a statement saying that the President’s words were being misinterpreted by Armenia and were “not a threat to Armenia's territorial integrity”.  It reiterated Azerbaijan’s willingness to normalise relations with Armenia.

The Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, suggested there was contradiction in the statements, saying, “On the one hand the Azerbaijani leadership announces that it has no territorial demands from Armenia, on the other hand they announce about creating a Zangezur corridor by force”. Pashinyan argued that there is no mention of ''Zangezur'', ''Syunik'' or ''corridor'' in the agreement that ended the war, but “remarks about unblocking regional infrastructures”. He emphasised that Azerbaijan “can only get a ''corridor'' that will be an equivalent to the ''corridor'' that Armenia will get from the Azerbaijani territory”.


Source: commonspace.eu with Azertag (Baku), Armenpress (Yerevan) and agencies
Photo: President Aliyev conducts AzTV interview (Azertag)