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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Azerbaijan-Armenia dispute over Zangezur corridor escalates.

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The dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Zangezur corridor, a proposed transport route that would link Azerbaijan to its exclave of Nakhchivan and Turkey to the rest of the Turkic world through Armenia’s Syunik province, has escalated in recent weeks.

Azerbaijan claims that it has reached an agreement with Armenia on the implementation of the corridor project, which was part of the armistice deal brokered by Russia in November 2020 that ended the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in May 2022 that “the Zangezur corridor is a historical necessity” and that “it will happen whether Armenia wants it or not”.

However, Armenia denies that such an agreement exists and accuses Azerbaijan of violating its territorial integrity and sovereignty by deploying troops near its border and demanding access to its roads and railways. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in September 2022 that “there is no such thing as a Zangezur corridor” and that “we will not allow any encroachment on our territory.”

The tension has also drawn regional and international attention, as the Zangezur corridor project could have significant geopolitical implications for Iran, Russia, Turkey and other actors. Iran opposes the project as it fears losing its transit role and influence in the South Caucasus region. Russia supports the project as it seeks to maintain its role as a mediator and peacekeeper between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Turkey backs the project as it aims to expand its economic and cultural ties with Azerbaijan and other Turkic states.

The situation remains volatile as both sides accuse each other of provocations and violations of the ceasefire agreement. The international community has called for dialogue and restraint to prevent further escalation of violence. The fate of the Zangezur corridor project remains uncertain as it depends on political will, security guarantees, legal frameworks and economic feasibility.

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