Armenia’s National Security Service circulated a draft proposal on setting up several new checkpoints on its borders with Azerbaijan. These proposals have made residents of the towns and cities surrounding the areas uneasy, especially in Yeraskh, which borders Nakhichevan.
Specifically, the proposal suggests opening border crossings at three points along the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border, in particular near the villages of Sotk (bordering Kelbajar) in the Gegharkunik Province and Karahunj (bordering Eyvazli) in the Syunik Province on the eastern border. Another proposed checkpoint is near the village of Yeraskh (bordering Sadarak) on the western border at Nakhichevan.
The NSS proposal came after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on August 4 instructed relevant bodies to make proposals that require the government approval.
Some residents of Yeraskh voiced concerns over the impact these border checkpoints will have on their daily activities, among them taking children to school and other aspects that could alter their lives.
“Nobody will agree with this,” Anush Martirosyan told Azatutyun.am’s Armenian Service, criticizing Pashinyan for not considering the welfare of the citizens in the affected areas.
“You can’t trust the Azerbaijani. How many agreements for peace has Azerbaijan signed. Has anything happened? No,” Martirosyan added.
Areg Kochinyan, an expert on military and political issues, told Azatutyun.am’s Armenian Service that he believes that with this step Armenia is trying to show some proactivity in order to neutralize Azerbaijan’s claims about opening what Baku calls the “Zangezur Corridor,” a scheme advanced by Baku that seeks a land corridor through Armenia to connect mainland Azerbaijan with Nakhichevan.
On Friday, the proposal was added to an official website—e-draft.am—which is a portal designed to engage and encourage public debate on government proposals and actions. https://www.e-draft.am/projects/4662/about