Brussels Meeting – One Step Closer to the Opening of the Zangezur Corridor (Op-Ed)

By Naghi Ahmadov

The meeting on May 14 between Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia in Brussels was successful in bringing the positions of the parties closer on many points. One of such issues was the agreement reached regarding the Zangezur Corridor.

Charles Michel in his press remarks after the meeting pointed out that the sides made “clear progress” at unblocking transport and economic links in the region: “Positions on this topic have now come very close to each other in particular on the reopening of the railway connections to and via Nakhchivan.” Thus, it was agreed to open the railway line, which is one of the main components of the Zangezur Corridor, passing through the territory of Armenia. This is a considerable success considering the fact that Russia-Azerbaijan-Armenia tripartite working group has been continuing to work steadily on the opening of the Zangezur Corridor since the end of the 44-day war.

It should be noted that shortly before the Brussels meeting, the foreign ministers were able to work on the peace text during the 4-day meeting in Washington. After the meeting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned that Armenia and Azerbaijan had made ‘tangible progress’ in peace talks. From this it is understood that many unclear points were clarified between the parties.

There is no doubt that the implementation of the Zangezur Corridor will bring great prospects not only for Azerbaijan, but also for all the countries of the region, and in particular Armenia. In other words, the Zangezur Corridor will connect the main part of Azerbaijan with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic through Armenia and will allow Armenia to have a transport connection with Russia, its main ally. At the same time, bearing in mind that the demand for the Middle Corridor is constantly growing in the shadow of the Western sanctions imposed against Russia, the opening of the Zangezur Corridor will also benefit China and the European Union. It should be noted that today, taking into account the sharp difference between the current capacity and the demand for cargo transportation through the Middle Corridor, the opening of the Zangezur Corridor will be a good alternative in terms of route diversification.

Moreover, the restoration of communications and especially the realization of the Zangezur Corridor will further accelerate the economic growth rate of the countries of the region as a whole, and will also allow attracting more foreign investment to the region. Taking into account that Azerbaijan has recently expanded electricity exports to the European Union countries, it can also be expected that the Zangezur Corridor will become a “green energy” corridor at some point in the future.

As a result, the fact that Armenia has already expressed a concrete position regarding the agreement to open the Zangezur Corridor at the Brussels meeting should be considered as the initial result of Azerbaijan’s concerted efforts and consistency in this direction for a long time on the diplomatic front.

Naghi Ahmadov, a senior fellow at the Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center), exclusively for News.Az

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