TODAY.AZ / Politics

Yerevan, Moscow duelling over Zangazur: There may be other goals behind Russia's initiative – BBC Expert

09 June 2023 [15:01] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

Elnur Enveroglu

The geopolitical realities in the South Caucasus are beginning to prevail over the myth. Issues that once covered dust and are not remembered have now become the most important topic in agenda - the opening of the Zangazur corridor.

Yes, the successful policy pursued by Azerbaijan even after the Patriotic War is bearing fruit today. Although this seems impossible to many, today unimaginable forces have already begun to take initiatives to turn impossible issues into possible ones, even without Azerbaijan's pressure. It is talked about Russia's request to Armenia to open the Zangazur corridor and communication lines according to the November 10 capitulation document.

It should be noted that the Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, has recently visited the Russian city of Sochi in connection with the discussion of the abovementioned issue. The agenda of the meeting included the development of transport and logistics infrastructure, digitalization of freight rail transportation. Before that, the Armenian prime minister was received by his Russian counterpart Mikhail Mishustin, and Mr Mishustin concentrated on the issue of unblocking transport communications, i.e. the Zangazur corridor.

Pashinyan replied that he was ready to open communications, but "within the framework of the principle of sovereignty and jurisdiction of those parties through which these communications pass". When discussing the issue, Pashinyan also mentioned the 9th paragraph of the statement of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, signed in November 2020, an agreement that stopped the second Karabakh War.

Besides that, the spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, guided by the provisions of the November 10 agreement, has made a statement about the opening of Armenian communication lines, including the Zangazur corridor, and the implementation of control there by the Russian FSB.

A BBC expert, a British author David Parry, who commented on the issue for AZERNEWS, emphasized the possibility that there are other goals behind Russia's enthusiasm for Zangazur.

"Of course, I have no doubts about Azerbaijan's visionary policy. However, I must note that the Azerbaijani side should not rely too much on this Russian initiative. Otherwise, it can be no more than a self-deception. All meaning, the Russian delegation will have enormous difficulties accepting this agreement in full, let alone uncover the political realities in front of them. All in all, the November 10th initiative will be extremely difficult to implement, while I simply cannot see how the FBS can take enough control of the agreed corridor to make the situation workable."

The expert added that Russia's haste in opening the Zangazur and communication lines may harm Azerbaijan on the one hand. Because, according to David Parry, Russia always prioritizes its own interests in solving any problem in the South Caucasus.

"These developments can do little other than cause rifts between Armenia and the present Russian Administration. After all, finding itself overstretched on a number of levels, Russia is currently looking for rational solutions in regions historically plagued by deep-seated tensions. As such, my concern is that the promised speed of a proposed resolution will blind every stakeholder to inherited complexities to the detriment of Azerbaijan."

Expert also touched on Pashinyan's dreams in the South Caucasus regarding the West and the European Union. According to him, although Pashinyan wants more European mediation in the South Caucasus, especially in the issue of border delimitation and the Zangazur corridor, this seems unrealistic within the framework of the Russian factor.

"The suggestion of any European intervention in the Zangazur Corridor appears rather unrealistic, once the current international situation is taken into account. In a better world than ours, such optimistic recommendations might be progressive and helpful, but with global tensions at an unprecedented height, this is more akin to a comforting delusion than any realistic political proposal."


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