Why does not Azerbaijan open land borders?

Baku/06.07.22/Turan:  On July 15, Russia will open its land borders. However, despite this, it will not be possible to  travel from Azerbaijan to Russia by land, because Azerbaijan still keeps its land borders closed. The opening of the land border of Russia again actualized the question - why are the land borders of Azerbaijan still closed?

According to the new decree, on July 1, the Sadarak and Julfa customs border crossings in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic for the carriage of passengers  closed for a two-month period. The State Border Service (SBS) also reported that, according to the Cabinet of Ministers Resolution No. 232 dated June 20, the border is closed and until September 1, with the exception of cargo transportation, entry and exit to the country's territory by land transport is suspended.

Why does Azerbaijan not open its land borders? Which of the versions voiced in society due to the closure of land borders is true? How much does it cost a country to close a land border, and who benefits?

Economist and secretary of the REAL party, Natig Jafarli, answers these questions in the “Difficult Question” program.

According to him, it is doubtful that Azerbaijan does not open its land borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The situation in this regard in the country is stable, the number of infected is not large. In general and in the world, restrictions related to COVID-19 are being lifted. In particular, on July 15, Russia  will  open its land borders, and restrictions on entry and exit to this country will be lifted. However, several countries, including Azerbaijan, continue to keep land borders closed,” he said, adding that the virus did not commit itself not to spread among air passengers.

“If it was related to the virus, then flights would also be stopped. So, we can say with confidence that COVID-19 has nothing to do with it. If, however, this is related to security issues, which is also often said, then this explanation is also illogical, because, again, air traffic should also be closed,” Jafarli said. In his opinion, this also damages border trade and tourism. In addition, it causes financial  damage to citizens.

“For example, people living in the regions bordering Georgia, who need to visit it, instead of crossing the Azerbaijani-Georgian border, which will cost them only 10 manats,  have to waste time and incur serious expenses in order to travel to Baku and fly from there to Tbilisi by plane (one-way ticket costs 105 Euros - approx. Ed.). The same  is true with citizens living in the border areas with Iran. They again have to go to Baku to fly to Tehran,” he stressed.

He noted  the spread of a variety of incredible rumors. One of the rumors is that   this is done by the government at the suggestion of AZAL, so that the monopoly company can ensure the sale of its extremely expensive air tickets in this way and thereby compensate for the losses incurred during the pandemic.  Another rumor  is  that the borders are closed because a war is about to start. The spread of such rumors is also a threat to the country.

Let's assume that there really are good reasons to keep the border shut and the government, due to some circumstances, cannot explain the reason for this?  But in this case, it would be necessary to give citizens at least some digestible explanation of the reason why the borders do not open,” the politician believes. Obviously, the absence of information breeds rumors and this not only brings harm, but also increases the dissatisfaction of citizens, he argues.-0-

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