Wednesday , 14 April 2021

Autonomous republic becomes a new transit hub

The essence of each regional or international event is characterized by its causes and consequences. The Second Karabakh War, which has been in the centre of the world’s attention for some time, and the well-known Declaration signed between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia as a result of this war have been the main topic of discussion in the world media.

This Declaration, signed on November 10, is considered to be the beginning of a new era of stability and development in the South Caucasus region, as well as ensuring the glorious victory of Azerbaijan. On the same day, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, addressed the nation and informed them about this 9-point historical document. Addressing the people on December 1 on the handover of Lachin region to Azerbaijan, thus completing the de facto return of all our occupied regions to the official administration of Azerbaijan, the President once again touched upon the conditions set out in the Declaration, but also in an explanatory form. President Ilham Aliyev said the following about Nakhchivan: “The ninth paragraph states that all economic transport links in the region are being restored. The Republic of Armenia guarantees the security of transport links between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in order to organize the unimpeded movement of vehicles and cargo in both directions. Transport control is exercised by the Border Service of the Federal Security Service of Russia, and the construction of new transport communications connecting the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and the western regions of Azerbaijan will be provided by agreement of the parties.

The head of state stressed the inclusion of this item in the text of the agreement, saying: “This item 9 was included in the Declaration only as a result of my insistence. Because the peace plan that had been discussed for many years did not have such a clear provision. That is, it was taken into account that all communications would be opened, and there was no talk of a corridor connecting the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and the main part of Azerbaijan. It was thought that this general expression included it. It was specifically stated that a corridor is being established between the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and the main part of Azerbaijan, and the security of this corridor is carried out not by Armenia, but by the Border Service of the Federal Security Service of Russia. That is, this corridor will be completely safe. At the same time, the second issue – the construction of new transport communications connecting the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and the western regions of Azerbaijan on the basis of the agreement of the parties – added an additional item to address this issue in a complete and forward-looking framework. So what does this mean? This means that there should be two corridors. If necessary, there should be two corridors. This is our historic achievement. We are removing Nakhchivan from the siege and at the same time opening a new transport corridor.

In previous issues of our newspaper, we stated that the inclusion of paragraph 9 in the Declaration in order to restore transport links with Nakhchivan is, in the true sense of the word, a great diplomatic success. Because, as noted by the President, this issue was not discussed in the negotiations. The blockade of Nakhchivan, which has no direct connection with the conflict zone, but emerged as a result of this conflict, has always been considered by Armenians as a means of influencing Azerbaijan in resolving certain issues. The passage of transport and communication lines through the territory of Armenia (formerly the territory of Azerbaijan, Zangazur) hindered Azerbaijan’s military control in this direction. Therefore, the solution to the problem of the blockade of the autonomous republic could be possible, mainly at the political level, but also at a time when Azerbaijan is dictating its terms. Because the conditions in diplomacy are always based on mutual concessions. It was Mr. Ilham Aliyev who, taking advantage of the conditions he created, successfully resolved the blockade of Nakhchivan through a diplomatic move. The head of state told everyone that all countries would benefit from resolving this issue. Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran and, if desired, Armenia can join this corridor. Thus, a new five-party cooperation platform can be created in the region. Expressing confidence in the success of the new project, Mr. President said that five countries could benefit from it. In his speech, the President praised the project as the best for regional security and cooperation.

Yes, in the near future, the restoration of transport and communication links with Nakhchivan will start a new stage of development in the autonomous republic. First of all, it will be possible to facilitate travel with Nakhchivan, the capital Baku and other regions of the country. On the other hand, it will be easier to export industrial and agricultural products produced in the autonomous republic to domestic and foreign markets. The passage of cargo and passengers from the main part of Azerbaijan, including the Great Silk Road countries to Turkey and vice versa, through Nakhchivan (including the railway connecting Nakhchivan and Turkey) will affect the development of tourism in the autonomous republic.

It should be noted that these steps to be taken to lift the blockade of Nakhchivan have become the main topic of the agenda in the fraternal Turkish media. According to Turkish media, Azerbaijan’s historic victory in Karabakh has given Turkey a strategic corridor through Nakhchivan to Central Asia and the Pacific. Through this corridor, energy and trade routes will be radically changed, and Turkey will have a new logistics channel from Central Asia to China. Thus, Nakhchivan will restore its historical role on the Great Silk Road. From this it is possible to conclude that Nakhchivan, which is considered the gateway to the great Turkic world, will connect East and West as a transit hub. In this sense, the steps taken in connection with Nakhchivan are of not only regional but also international significance.

Author: Sabuhi HASANOV

Translator: Emin Gulmammadov

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