Azerbaijani-Armenian relations have worsened due to the Zangezur transport corridor
In a recent diplomatic exchange, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan responded to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's call for the restoration of relations between the two nations. Pashinyan expressed Armenia's willingness to facilitate communication between Nakhchivan and the rest of Azerbaijan, proposing the establishment of both rail and road transport connections under specific conditions.
However, Pashinyan emphasized that any reopening of roads and borders should adhere to the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and jurisdiction of the involved countries. This comes in the wake of President Aliyev's insistence that people and cargo move freely from Azerbaijan to Azerbaijan without inspection, particularly through the so-called "zangazur corridor" passing through the Armenian Sunik region.
President Aliyev underscored the importance of safety along this route, expressing skepticism about Armenia's ability to guarantee security. He referred to the trilateral agreement signed on November 10, 2020, which mandated Russian border guards to oversee a specific area. Aliyev insisted that Armenia fulfill this obligation, a demand the Armenian Prime Minister sought to address.
The official response from Baku's Ministry of Foreign Affairs is yet to be issued. Babaoglu, a deputy from the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party of Azerbaijan, downplayed the significance of Pashinyan's proposal in an interview with Turan, referring to existing obligations in the trilateral agreement.
Babaoglu argued that Pashinyan's ideas were "unsuccessful" and pointed out that Iran had never facilitated a transition between Azerbaijani territories like the proposed Zangazur corridor. He stressed that communication should be opened, a sentiment echoed by the trilateral agreement, which includes specific provisions for unimpeded passage.
Political commentator Arastun Orujlu highlighted the changing foreign policy of Azerbaijan in an interview with Radio Azadlig. He noted signs of increased Russian influence and speculated on Azerbaijan's attempts to create conflicts with the West, potentially as a strategic move ahead of upcoming elections.
Orujlu expressed concern about Azerbaijan seemingly aligning with Russian interests on multiple fronts, including the Zangazur corridor issue. He suggested that Baku might be fulfilling obligations to Moscow, raising questions about the independence of Azerbaijan's foreign policy decisions.