Part II of Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict on Zangezur Corridor?
Just last month countries, including Iran, the US and Turkey, helped put out the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. But it seems there’s some unrest brewing over the Zangezur corridor that runs along Armenia’s border with Iran.
There are growing concerns that Azerbaijan could step up in the Zangezur corridor as it was the product of cease-fire agreement that ended the 2020 war against Armenia. The deal committed Armenia to guarantee the security of transportation connections between Azerbaijan’s mainland and Naxcivan.
And the shortest route or way between Naxcivan and the rest of Azerbaijan is through Armenia’s Syunik Province, which Baku calls Zangezur. Armenia had delayed the opening of this path.
Azerbaijan Doesn’t Want Zangezur
Initially, Azerbaijan suggested that they wanted this road as a true corridor, with no Armenian interference – Armenian border or customs officers checking vehicles or cargo passing through. Then Azerbaijan officials said they don’t want to grab Armenia’s Syunik Province, but require dependable security ensures for passengers on the route.
Ukrainian politician Mikheil Saakashvili advised Armenia not to delay the opening of path and highlighted Ukraine and Moldova as an example. He said the duty for working and sustaining the freeway and all important infrastructure on the transferred space is Ukraine’s responsibility, while Moldova makes the most of this designated freeway section without cost. Customary border, customs and various checks are not applicable here.
Zangezur corridor can enhance Armenia’s financial progress and supply entry to Western markets. Moreover, political commentators say President Ilham Aliyev’s strategy to rework Azerbaijan right into a key transit hub in Eurasia is elevating Baku’s geopolitical significance. They believe the Zangezur corridor can strengthen the Caspian Transport Network with the East-West transport hall and the North-South International Transport Corridor.
Armenia Turns to the West
But Armenia doesn’t want to see Zangezur as a strategic corridor and has turned to the West to fend off Azerbaijan. French Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu said even if France is not part of the same military and political alliances as Armenia, it has a defense relationship to defend the country and the civilian population.
France is very willing to deepen military ties with Armenia despite Azerbaijan’s offensive over the years. Now France is selling weapons to Armenia – three Ground Master 200 radars, binoculars and sensors. Armenia also sealed a deal with France for the acquisition of Mistral air defense systems made by MBDA.