MOSCOW — The so-called Zangezur corridor has never been discussed within the framework of the trilateral agreements between Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

“The Zangezur Corridor has never been discussed as part of the agreements that were made by President Putin, President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan on November 9 in 2020,” he said at a press briefing.

Speaking about unblocking regional connections, Lavrov said the three countries have decided during trilateral task force meetings that the countries will retain sovereignty and jurisdiction over routes which will be unblocked through their territory. This was agreed and discussed with Putin during his Yerevan visit for the CSTO summit, Lavrov said.

Lavrov complained that Armenia opposes Russian control of the road and railway that would connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan through Syunik region.

“They don’t want Russian border guards to stand there, even though this was written down and signed by Prime Minister [Nikol] Pashinyan,” he told a news conference. “He doesn’t want neutral border and customs control. [They want to do that] only by themselves, and that contradicts what was agreed upon.”

“It is very sad that such a beneficial thing for Armenia as the opening of the road through Syunik region still remains on paper. With all due respect, I see the reason in Yerevan’s position. I don’t know who is advising Yerevan, but we have seen how the EU, France, Germany, the US – as soon as they realized that the Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani efforst to reopen roads, to delimit borders and to prepare a peace treaty was giving results they immediately got involved in these processes without invitation and played the role of a spoiler,” Lavrov claimed.

“It is Armenia that is now experiencing difficulties to fulfill the opening of the route as written in the trilateral statement. It is Armenia that is putting forward new demands as far as security along the route is concerned. They do not want Russian border guards there. They do not want neutral customs and border control. This contradicts what was agreed upon,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov claimed that Paragraph 9 of that agreement stipulates that Russian border guards stationed in Armenia will “control” the movement of people, vehicles and goods between Nakhichevan and the rest of Azerbaijan. Armenian officials say this only allows them to “monitor” the commercial traffic, rather than escort it, let alone be involved in border controls.

 

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