Armenia expresses its readines for negotiations with Azerbaijan over construction of Arazdeyan metallurgical plant

Armenia expresses its readines for negotiations with Azerbaijan over construction of Arazdeyan metallurgical plant
# 06 November 2023 15:36 (UTC +04:00)

Information and video footage has been posted on the social media account of Armenian Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan regarding the construction of a large metallurgical plant with an annual production capacity of 180,000 tons and covering an area of 16,500 square meters in the village of Yeraskh (Arazdayan) on the Armenian border with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan, APA reports.

According to Article 3.1 of the 1991 UN Economic Commission for Europe "Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context" (hereinafter - the "Convention"), Armenia officially notified Azerbaijan as a country that may be affected by the metallurgical plant to be built in the border zone. and has obligations to conduct relevant consultations with Azerbaijan according to Article 5 of the Convention. In this regard, it should be noted that the activity in question is included in the list of activities with expected transboundary effects in Annex 1 of the Convention. However, no official notification about this was given to Azerbaijan through the communication channels available by Armenia, and consultations with Azerbaijan were not started.

• When the information was published in the press, Azerbaijan responded promptly to the issue and sent a letter to the Armenian side. In the letter, Armenia was requested to comply with its obligations under the Convention, to provide the necessary information to start consultations to determine the harmful transboundary effects of the project, and to stop the construction of the plant in that area.

• In the response letter of the Armenian side, it was stated that the obligations under the Convention were not violated, that the activity in question would not have a significant negative impact on the environment of Azerbaijan, and the demands of Azerbaijan to conduct consultations, submit documents and stop the construction of the plant in that area were rejected.

• Taking this into account, in September of this year, according to Article 3.7 and Appendix 4 of the Azerbaijan Convention, he addressed a request to the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe to investigate the issue. In the request, the Secretariat urgently requests the establishment of an investigative commission to determine the transboundary impact of the plant, appeals to Armenia to immediately stop the construction of the plant until the environmental impact is determined, helps Azerbaijan obtain possible information about the construction, including an environmental impact assessment document and possible mitigation measures. requested. A copy of the appeal was delivered to the Armenian side as well.

• On October 13, 2023, a reply letter was addressed to Azerbaijan on behalf of the executive secretary. In the letter, it was confirmed that Armenia has obligations to hold discussions, submit environmental impact and project documents.

• On October 31, 2023, as a result of Azerbaijan's appeal to the executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe and continuous legal-diplomatic pressure on Armenia, the Minister of Economy of Armenia made a statement to the press about moving the construction of the plant to a new location (far from the border). At the same time, the Minister of Environment of Armenia sent an appeal to the executive secretary and stated that he is ready for negotiations with Azerbaijan.

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