We must do everything so that the new environment emerging around Armenia corresponds to our long-term strategic interests as much as possible - Nikol Pashinyan
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A regular Cabinet meeting took place today, chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Before proceeding to the agenda, the Prime Minister referred to the installation of a checkpoint on the Goris-Kapan highway by Azerbaijan and to the Government's steps in the direction of alternative roads. In his speech, Nikol Pashinyan said,
“Hello, dear colleagues,
As you know, since August of this year, Azerbaijan has been carrying out customs administration towards trucks of the Islamic Republic of Iran, that is, collecting customs duties on the Goris-Kapan highway, the section of Eyvazli -Chaizam passing through its territory.
Yesterday we received an unofficial notification from Azerbaijan that from November 11 they are going to carry out customs and passport control over the citizens and cargo of the Republic of Armenia. After receiving this notification, we decided to direct the citizens traveling through that section to the Kapan-Aghvani-Tatev-Halidzor-Shinuhair M2 highway and carry out the traffic there. The Tatev-Aghvani section of this highway, which had been practically impassable for several decades, has been asphalted and was put into operation last week.
Last Thursday I personally travelled to Kapan and returned by that road. I can testify that we have got a really good road, which needs some improvements to ensure a more convenient passage of trailer trucks. However, I must say that on my way to Kapan and back, I saw dozens of trailer trucks on the road, including from the Islamic Republic of Iran, which were moving freely. Yesterday until midnight, and after that, that is, until dawn, nearly 100 trailer trucks passed through the Kapan-Tatev section. By the way, after the yesterday’s decision of Azerbaijan, the situation does not change for Iranian trucks, with the difference that now they can also travel on the asphalted road Tatev-Aghvani without additional customs duties.
I would like to emphasize that the time for travelling from Yerevan to Kapan and the opposite direction does not increase, on the contrary, it is slightly reduced, taking into account the quality of the road. Add to this the fact that the Yeraskh-Goris section is currently undergoing an unprecedented amount of road construction, and the quality of the road is changing significantly. Add to this the fact that an unprecedented scale of road construction is currently underway on the Yeraskh-Goris section, and the quality of the road is changing significantly. I would like to emphasize that large-scale construction of alternative roads is being carried out in the Tatev-Ltsen section, in the Shurnukh-Vorotan section, in several other sections, about which we will announce in the future. As a result of the change in the logic of the traffic, no village is isolated, although in the case of several villages the improvement of the quality of the roads is a necessity, we will solve this issue as soon as possible.
Now about how to react to the decision made by Azerbaijan. To avoid speculation, I must remind you and draw your attention to the fact that the Azerbaijani checkpoint is not in the territory of the Republic of Armenia. It is about the Eyvazli section. Now another question may arise. And was it impossible to negotiate so that no border control was exercised over the citizens and cargo of Armenia on that way? It was possible, but the price would be the corridor logic, which is unacceptable for us.
The position of the Republic of Armenia on regional communications has always been that they should be reopened without any context of extraterritoriality, with appropriate customs and passport control. I mean we have never discussed and will never discuss any corridor logic, as I have stated several times before. This is recorded in the trilateral format of the Deputy Prime Ministers of Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan. It should be noted that in recent weeks this logic, this agreement, was publicly confirmed by the Russian Federation. And it is in this context that Azerbaijan made yesterday's decision.
To be more clear, Armenia continues to adhere to the provisions of the statements of November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021, in particular regarding the unblocking of all transport and economic communications in the region. Moreover, we are interested in unblocking all the economic and transport communications in the region, and we hope to reach concrete solutions in the near future based on the principles agreed and announced in the trilateralworking group.
Returning to the Goris-Kapan road section, I would like to emphasize that the Republic of Armenia will also, if necessary, set up customs and passport control checkpoints.
I have said several times during this time, and now I want to emphasize that in this very important period we need composure, strong nerves. A new environment is emerging around Armenia, and we must do everything we can to make that environment as consistent as possible with our long-term strategic interests. And we are pursuing that path.
Thank you. "