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Russia Envisions No ‘Corridor’ Through Armenia


RUSSIA - A sign at the entrance to the building of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow, July 19, 2018.

Russia indicated on Wednesday that it does not regard potential transport links between the Nakhichevan region and the rest of Azerbaijan passing through Armenia as a land corridor.

“We use the term ‘route,’” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said when asked by the official Turkish news agency Anatolia about Russian efforts to help open the so-called “Zangezur corridor” demanded by Azerbaijan as well as Turkey.

Zakharova added that the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan discussed “problems of unblocking transport links in the region” at their meeting in Sochi on Monday. They instructed a trilateral task force dealing with the matter to continue working on practical modalities of opening the Armenian-Azerbaijani border to commercial and passenger traffic, she told a news conference.

The task force’s Russian co-chair, Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk, said on September 30 that it never discussed any “extraterritorial corridors.” He said that the three sides agreed on another principle whereby “sovereignty over a road is exercised by the country through whose territory the road passes.”

“In practice, the implementation of this principle means that in order to enter the territory of Armenia from Azerbaijan via unblocked or newly built roads, border and passport control measures will be the same as, for example, when entering Armenia from Iran,” Overchuk told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has claimed that the Russian-brokered deal that stopped the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh commits Armenia to providing a permanent corridor between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan. Yerevan maintains that it envisages only conventional transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

A joint statement issued by Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi made no mention of the issue.

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