YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Ilham Aliyev of obstructing the opening of transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Tuesday after the Azerbaijani president said Yerevan must not control a land “corridor” demanded by Baku.
Speaking just hours before his fresh talks with Pashinyan planned in Brussels, Aliyev said the so-called “Zangezur corridor” that would connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave via Armenian territory must have the same status as the existing Lachin corridor linking Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
“There are no customs checkpoints on the Lachin corridor right now,” Aliyev said after talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. “The same must also be the case on the Zangezur corridor.”
“If Armenia insists on setting up customs checkpoints to control the movement of goods and people through the Zangezur corridor, then we will insist on the same conditions for the Lachin corridor,” he told reporters.
Pashinyan was quick to reject Aliyev’s demands and accuse Baku of trying to “drive the issue of opening regional transport links into deadlock.”
“The Azerbaijani president’s attempts to draw parallels between the opening of regional transport routes and the Lachin corridor have nothing to do with discussions held and statements signed on that topic to date and are unacceptable to Armenia,” he wrote on Facebook. “I will make this position clear at the trilateral meeting slated for today.”
Pashinyan referred to his planned talks with Aliyev hosted by European Council President Charles Michel. The latter held separate talks with the two leaders earlier on Tuesday.