Moscow analyst sees Zengezur Corridor becoming less and less important for Azerbaijan – OpEd – Eurasia Review
Suggestions by Armenian and Azerbaijani officials that the two countries could sign a peace treaty by the end of this year or sometime next year have sparked discussions about what precisely it will contain and whether the corridors of transport that were to be reopened in accordance with the November 2020 declaration will be included.
This tripartite declaration specified that the transport links closed by the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Qarabagh would be reopened, raising hopes in Azerbaijan that this would involve the Zengezur corridor between Azerbaijan proper and the non-contiguous autonomy of Azerbaijan. , Nakhichevan.
Because this corridor would cross Armenian territory and because at least according to most discussions, it would be controlled by Russian forces in their roles as peacekeepers and border guards, which was opposed in Armenia where many see it as an attempt to encircle and even destroy their country.
Now, Russian commentator Stanislav Tarasov has published an article that suggests reopening the Zengezur Corridor may actually be off the table. He says that security issues on the Black Sea and the potential development of north-south rail traffic from Russia to Iran mean that for Azerbaijan, the importance of Zengezur is “decreasing” (iarex.ru/articles/ 86528.html).
Given the both symbolic and practical importance of having direct land transport between Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan and thus beyond to Turkey, it is hard to believe that this is the case. But Tarasov’s words suggest that Moscow hopes that will be the case and could push to drop any reference to Zengezur in a future peace treaty.