“We hope that the sides will resolve the latest disagreements in the Syunik province’s border zones and especially the Kapan-Goris road section in a way that the implementation of the goal of reopening of transportation routes and unblocking won’t be disrupted,” the Iranian embassy in Yerevan told the state-run Armenpress news agency on Friday.
“Unfortunately, in the past two days we are witnessing a disruption of transit through this road as a result of the latest developments in the Syunik province, which has caused problems not only for the normal life of Armenia’s civilian population, but also a number of Iranian cargo vehicles carrying out shipments from Iran to Armenia,” the embassy added.
It stressed that due to the existing difficult situation at the 21-kilometer section of the road “it is required for the sides to make efforts within the framework of goodwill principle in the direction of ensuring normal course of communication and transit, until reaching an exact and concrete situation over this matter.”
“We are hopeful that in parallel to the ongoing negotiations over solving the existing disputes regarding the use of the Kapan-Goris route, the improvement and development works of alternative routes will swiftly take place, so that the conditions return to normal both from the perspective of Armenia’s citizens and our commercial relations with Armenia,” the Iranian embassy said.
Citing a stabbing attack against its border guard earlier this week, Azerbaijan closed two sections of a key Armenian interstate highway that partly passes through territory that Baku regained after last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia’s National Security Service said that negotiations with Azerbaijan with the participation of the Russian side were underway to achieve the reopening of the strategic road also used for vital trade with Iran.
On Friday, two days after Azerbaijan closed the road, Armenia’s Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan said that problems with travel in Syunik had seriously affected life of the local population, including their access to goods and medical services. He said the situation also seriously limited trade between Armenia and Iran.
An RFE/RL Armenian Service correspondent on August 27 talked to one Iranian truck driver stuck in Syunik who complained about the uncertain situation with the road. The Iranian still said that he preferred waiting for the main road to reopen than using an alternative dirt road that he said was difficult to drive.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian told his government earlier on Friday to speed up efforts on the renovation of alternative roads in Syunik to ensure reliable connection between communities and the regional center, state and interstate highways.
Pashinian claimed that by closing the road in Syunik Azerbaijan sought to discredit Armenia’s peace agenda for the region, but expressed a hope that the situation will be resolved soon.
“Such a situation was not unexpected for us and in the meantime we have worked and will continue to work to build new infrastructure. But the reopening of roads in the Eyvazli and Chaizami sections can be a very good symbol of regional stability,” Pashinian said.