The restoration of transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan is envisaged by the Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement that stopped the war in Nagorno-Karabakh on November 10.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian decided to set up a trilateral “working group” for that purpose when they met in Moscow on January 11. They said it will submit by March 1 a timetable of “measures envisaging the restoration and construction of new transport infrastructure facilities.”
The group co-headed by deputy prime ministers of the three states held its first meeting in the Russian capital on January 30.
Their second session held on Friday took the form of a video conference. A Russian government statement said the three vice-premiers discussed “the course of joint work” stemming from the Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani agreements. They approved a “schedule for further work,” the statement added without elaborating.
The Armenian government issued an identical statement on the video conference.
At their January 30 meeting, Deputy Prime Ministers Alexei Overchuk of Russia, Mher Grigorian of Armenia and Shahin Mustafayev of Azerbaijan decided to form two “expert subgroups” tasked with dealing with transport issues and border controls.
One of the subgroups held a video conference on February 6. According to the Armenian Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures, its members “exchanged preliminary views” on the state of regional road and railway networks.
The truce agreement commits Yerevan to opening rail and road links between the Nakhichevan exclave and the rest of Azerbaijan that will presumably pass through southeastern Armenia. Armenia should be able, for its part, to use Azerbaijani territory as a transit route for cargo shipments to and from Russia and Iran.