President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan again threatened to forcibly open the so-called “Zangezur Corridor”—his plan to connect Azerbaijan-proper with Nakhichevan and Turkey through Armenia.
Aliyev, once again, pointed to his country’s aggressive attack on Artsakh last year while meeting with the residents of Gonagkand village in the Guba region located in northern Azerbaijan.
“Armenia and the whole world saw [during the war] that nobody could stop us … I was demanding that they present us with a date for the liberation of our lands before we stop [hostilities.] I am saying the same thing now: tells us when the Zangezur corridor will be opened and there will be no problems,” he said in his remarks, which were publicized on Tuesday morning.
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry condemned Aliyev’s remarks, characterizing them as a threat to Armenia territorial integrity, pointing out that during a meeting between the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia in Sochi on November 26, the issue of a corridor was never discussed.
President Vladimir Putin of Russia said immediately following the November 26 meeting that a working group engaged in addressing the opening of transit links between Armenia and Azerbaijan would present the decision that were reached at the Sochi meeting.
The deputy prime ministers of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan, tasked with detailing the transport link opening process, met in Moscow last week, but failed to reach an agreement.
Armenia’s Deputy Prime Minister Armen Grigoryan said that Azerbaijan was “not displaying the kind of political will that’s necessary for furthering the agreements reached in Sochi.”
Aliyev warned Yerevan on Monday to end its “insincere” position in the talks before it is “too late” to do that.
In a lengthy statement on Tuesday, Armenia’s foreign ministry sought to detail the various agreements and meetings that have taken place on the issue since the signing of the January 11, 2021 agreement on the opening of transit routes between Armenia and Azerbaijan, contending that at no time was a “corridor” discussed or considered.
The foreign ministry also pointed to a recent visit to Yerevan by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Overchuk, who on several occasions ruled out such a corridor.
“On November 5, 2021, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, the Co-Chair of the Tripartite working group Alexei Overchuk stated during a meeting with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan that the search for solutions within the tripartite working group is based on the following principles: the sovereignty of the countries through which the roads will pass will be maintained and that the types of control at the border crossing will be carried out on a reciprocal basis,” explained Armenia’s foreign ministry.
“Earlier, Alexei Overchuk stated that no issue related to “corridor” is being discussed within the tripartite working group,” added the foreign ministry.
“On the occasion of the anniversary of signing the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation circulated an informative material, which clearly stated that all participants of the trilateral working group agreed on the term that all transportation roads that will be unblocked and reestablished, will operate respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the countries through which they will pass,” the foreign ministry pointed out on Tuesday.
“The Republic of Armenia draws the attention of its main partners in the sphere of security—the Russian Federation, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the UN Security Council, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries and the international community—to the fact that official Baku continues its blatant threats of use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity of Armenia through warmongering statements, violating fundamental principles of international law, including the UN Charter, as well as endangering regional and global security,” said Armenia’s foreign ministry.
“The Republic of Armenia urges the Republic of Azerbaijan to refrain from provocative rhetoric and actions, as well as not to hinder the implementation of the agreements on unblocking all economic and transport communications in the region,” official Yerevan said on Tuesday.