A senior Armenian official insisted that during their weekend meeting in Brussels Aliyev and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian reached understandings only on conventional transport links between their countries.
European Council President Charles Michel, who hosted the meeting, said early on Monday that the two leaders agreed on “principles of border administration, security, land fees but also customs in the context of international transport.” He did not elaborate.
Speaking with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan later in the day, Aliyev said the two sides agreed to open a “Zangezur corridor” that will consist of a road and railway connecting Nakhichevan to the rest of Azerbaijan.
Aliyev has repeatedly demanded such a corridor. He said late last year that people and cargo using it must be exempt from Armenian border controls. Armenian leaders rejected his demands.
“Armenia’s position has not undergone any changes,” the secretary of the country’s Security Council, Armen Grigorian, told the Armenpress news agency, commenting on Aliyev’s statement. “In the territory of Armenia, no road or transport link can function by the logic of a corridor.”
“All understandings reached in Brussels fit into the frames of public statements previously made by Armenian officials,” said Grigorian.
In written comments to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service sent on April 18, Pashinian’s office said the prime minister believes that the so-called “Zangezur corridor” demanded by Baku would jeopardize Armenia’s territorial integrity. His domestic political opponents are unconvinced by such assurances.
Aliyev and Pashinian reportedly agreed on the practical modalities of Armenian-Azerbaijani rail links during their first trilateral meeting with Michel held in December. But they failed to patch up their differences on the status of the highway for Nakhichevan.