Under the draft published on e-draft.am, a single website for the publication of legal acts, it is proposed that the number of checkpoints for the crossing of the border by car be increased.
In particular, it suggests opening border crossings at three points along the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border, in particular near the villages of Sotk and Karahunj in the Gegharkunik and Syunik provinces in the direction of the border with Azerbaijan in the east and near the village of Yeraskh in the direction of the border with Azerbaijan in the west.
As a justification for the decision the draft cites the need to fulfill the instructions given by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian at a government meeting on August 4. Pashinian then, in particular, said that Armenia is ready to ensure a link between Azerbaijan and its western exclave of Nakhichevan through its territory provided it maintains sovereignty over the roads.
If the decision is adopted by the government, the director of the National Security Service will have to ensure the adoption of a corresponding legal act within two weeks to guarantee the safety of the movement of people, goods and vehicles through the new checkpoints. However, the draft does not specify what customs regulations will apply.
The tripartite Armenian-Azerbaijani-Russian commission for unblocking regional transport routes has not made any public announcement about any final agreement reached regarding the opening of the roads.
Neither the office of Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigorian, who is negotiating with the Azerbaijani side issues related to regional unblocking, nor the Foreign Ministry were available for comment immediately.
Representatives of Armenia’s opposition also refrained from commenting on the draft decision.
Areg Kochinian, an expert on military and political issues, said that he believes that with this step Armenia is trying to show some proactivity in order to neutralize Azerbaijan’s claims about opening what Baku calls the “Zangezur Corridor,” implying that the road to Nakhichevan should have some kind of extraterritorial status.
Yet, the Armenian expert cast doubt over the effectiveness of such a move.
“I don't think that this is a serious attempt to neutralize it, because this attempt itself does not in any way eliminate or solve the existing problems related to the positions of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Russia,” Kochinian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
“In fact, there is a demand from Russia in the form of a Russian corridor and a demand from Turkey and Azerbaijan in the form of a Turkish-Azerbaijani corridor. If this is Armenia’s attempt to avoid the corridor logic, then it is not a serious attempt to say the least,” he added.
The draft has been placed on e-draft.am for public discussions for the next two weeks until September 2. It is not clear when it may appear on the government’s agenda.