YEREVAN — Armenia and Azerbaijan are “very close” to implementing their Russian-brokered agreement to open a rail link between the two South Caucasus states, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at a government meeting on Thursday.

“We are very close to registering the first practical results of the trilateral [Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani] working group on opening regional communication routes,” Pashinyan said, commenting on the talks.

“As you know, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Alexei Overchuk and General Director of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov arrived in Yerevan yesterday on a working visit. They met with Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan. I want to emphasize that we are very close [to] reporting the first practical result of a trilateral working group on unblocking communications. Yesterday’s meeting was dedicated to the start of the construction of the Yeraskh – Julfa – Ordubad – Meghri – Horadiz railway,” he said.

According to Pashinyan, “there is an agreement that the railway will operate under the jurisdiction of the country through which it will pass.” “We are already discussing technical and design issues, as well as construction and financing issues.

He said if the dynamics is maintained “in the near future we can realize this opportunity.”

The decision to build the Yeraskh-Julfa-Ordubad-Meghri-Horadiz railway connecting Armenia and Azerbaijan was confirmed by the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev after a meeting in Brussels on December 15, 2021.

The planned 45-kilometer railway will connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave through Armenia’s Syunik province. The Armenian government set up last month a task force that will coordinate its construction, which is expected to cost about $200 million.

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