Azerbaijan-Armenia: Which routes are offered for the highway?-STUDY

Azerbaijan-Armenia: Which routes are offered for the highway?-STUDY
# 08 April 2022 11:45 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan has created a new geopolitical reality in the region after 44 days of the Patriotic war. The new geopolitical reality has made the opening of the Zangazur corridor a necessity. With the initiative and insistence of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the restoration of transport and communications between Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan has been reflected in the trilateral statement dated November 9/10, 2020, Armenia's commitment in this field has been once reflected in the trilateral statement dated January 11, 2021. This corridor will not only ensure the relations with highways and railways with Nakhchivan but also establish a new transport hub among Azerbaijan, Turkey, Asia, and Europe.

In fact, the Zangazur corridor, which railways and highways will pass through, paves the way to an opportunity for Armenia, which has been under blockade for many years, to restore economic ties with Azerbaijan and Turkey, as well as to become an important country in international transit. Although the official Yerevan has agreed to construct a railway through the Zangazur corridor over the last period, the discrepancy remains regarding the highway. Armenia offers different- Lachin-Gorus-Bicenek routes for highways. But what is the reason that Yerevan exhibits a different position regarding the construction of the highway from the Zangazur corridor which will play an important role in freight transportation from Asia to Europe?

Note that Azerbaijani side proposes Zangazur corridor, in other words, the highway to pass from Zangilan-Nuvadi-Mehri-Ordubad route which is the shortest and the most efficient with Nakhchivan in terms of economy. The road that the Armenian side wants to pass through Lachin-Gorus-Bichenak is both long and inconvenient in terms of relief. Using from this road may cause great difficulty, especially in snowy weather condition. Namely for this reason, back in the USSR period, on the initiative of national leader Heydar Aliyev, in order to ensure connection between Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan, the construction of Zangilan-Nuvadi-Mehri-Ordubad highway was put on the agenda.

The main participant of the process, Mahir Alakbarov, who worked as Deputy Minister of Construction and Operation of Motor Roads of the Azerbaijan USSR told APA that the variant that Azerbaijan currently proposes was also discussed during the Soviet period and positive feedback was received from the USSR Plan Committee.”

According to him, Heydar Aliyev had great merits in obtaining the consent of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR to open the road: “Construction of the road, which began in 1974, was to be completed in 1980, with 48 km of the road to pass through the Mehri district. Until the end of 1977, the central authorities did not provide anything other than the feasibility study of the road. At that time, Armenia was against the realization of this unique option. The issue of building the road at the insistence of Heydar Aliyev was discussed at a meeting of the USSR Council of Ministers. Rejecting the claims of the Armenians, at the insistence of Heydar Aliyev, the USSR Council of Ministers decided to build the Zangilan-Nuvadi-Mehri-Ordubad road. The Armenian part of the road had not yet been built, and in 1982, at the suggestion of the Planning Committee, the Council of Ministers decided to include it in the All-Union list of roads and renamed it A-324. However, after 1982, Armenia began to create obstacles in various ways, and the opening of the road was delayed for exactly 3 years. In 1983, Heydar Aliyev verbally appealed to the First Secretary of the Armenian SSR, Demirchyan, to agree to open the road after the construction work stopped. Then he instructed to send an official letter to the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan Kamran Bagirov and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR Hasan Seyidov. However, the Armenian SSR replied that an inspection had been carried out on the spot and that it was impossible to build a road from here. Nevertheless, Heydar Aliyev always kept the issue under control. His position in the USSR helped us to solve many problems. I want to emphasize one of them. So, the first secretaries of the central committees of the countries, the chairman of the Council of Ministers were queuing for the reception of the First Deputy Chairman of the Planning Committee of the USSR Viktor Biryukov. I was told that you can come directly to this issue whenever you need. Of course, he did not know me directly, this privilege was given to Heydar Aliyev. He was well aware that the First Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, Heydar Aliyev, was interested in this issue”

Mahir Alakbarov noted that finally, in 1985, the USSR Council of Ministers instructed to build the road in the version proposed by Azerbaijan: “According to this document, the Armenian side had to allocate territory for the road within a month. According to the decision of the Council of Ministers of Armenia, 38.5 hectares of land were allocated,

work began in 1986 and the construction of the section up to Nuvadi was completed. However, the deportation of our compatriots in 1988-89 and the inter-ethnic conflict did not allow to complete the construction.”

However, against the background of this new geopolitical reality created by Azerbaijan and the special interest of the world superpowers in the opening of the Zangazur corridor, Armenia's ability to prevent this unique project is disappearing.

Sooner or later, Yerevan will agree to the passage of the highway through the Zangazur corridor.

However, the sooner Yerevan takes this step, the sooner it will be able to save itself from the blockade….