Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) said on Friday evening that both sections of the Goris-Kapan road, namely Shurnukh-Karmrakar and Goris-Vorotan that were kept closed since late August 25 and August 26, respectively, were now open again.
“The Goris-Kapan interstate road is open for all types of vehicles and for free movement of citizens,” the NSS said, adding that Armenia’s border troops and border-guards of the Russian Federal Security Service conducted negotiations with the Azerbaijani side for the reopening of the road.
The NSS statement referred to no other details of the negotiations or any conditions on which the road section may have been reopened.
The 21-kilometer section of the Goris-Kapan road became disputed after Azerbaijan regained control over much of Nagorno-Karabakh and all Armenian-controlled districts around it as a result of last year’s 44-day war.
In December 2020, a month after Russia brokered a ceasefire deal to end the armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, it also arranged with Yerevan and Baku that Armenians will continue to use the stretch of the highway passing through Azerbaijani-controlled territory under the supervision of Russian border-guards until Armenia builds another alternative road for all types of transportation to connect two parts of the mountainous region.
The highway is also vital for Armenian trade with Iran. Earlier on Friday the Iranian embassy in Yerevan told the state-run Armenpress news agency that Tehran hopes that the latest border crisis between Armenia and Azerbaijan will be resolved peacefully and will not jeopardize commercial ties in the region.
During the morning session of the government Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian accused Azerbaijan of trying to discredit Armenia’s peace efforts by closing the road, but expressed a hope that the situation will be resolved soon.
At the same time, he told his ministers to speed up their efforts on the renovation of alternative roads in Syunik to ensure reliable connection between communities and the regional center, state and interstate highways.
“This 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 the road in the Eyvazli and Chaizami sections can be a very good symbol of regional stability,” the Armenian prime minister said, referring to the two closed sections of the Goris-Kapan road.
An official report late on Friday said that Pashinian had a phone talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin during which the two leaders also discussed the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
Armenia’s Ombudsman Arman Tatoyan, meanwhile, also addressed the situation in Syunik in a statement, saying that problems with travel in the mountainous region had seriously affected life of the local population, including their access to goods and medical services. He said that trade between Armenia and Iran had also been hampered by the situation.