Road through the pass in Kelbajar. Photo by Aziz Karimov for the Caucasian Knot

20 January 2021, 15:11

Azerbaijani political analysts assess value of travel to Armenia via Kelbadjar

If Azerbaijan allows residents of Nagorno-Karabakh to drive across its territory to Armenia, the travel length will make about 50 kilometres instead of about 500. Thus, the Azeri authorities could reduce political confrontation and speed up the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, political analysts have noted.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on January 18, activists in Nagorno-Karabakh asked peacemakers to give the residents of the unrecognized republic an opportunity to travel to Armenia through the territory controlled by Azerbaijan.

Following the last autumn conflict escalation, Nagorno-Karabakh lost control over two-thirds of its territory. By December 1, 2020, Azerbaijani troops had occupied all the territories between Armenia and the unrecognized republic, except for the Lachin Corridor – now, the only transport route connecting Yerevan with Stepanakert.

The "Caucasian Knot" has released a map indicating what territories Azerbaijan got after the autumn war.

Azerbaijan is in favour of unblocking the transport and economic ties; and this Baku's position was reflected in a joint statement dated November 10, 2020, Rasim Musabekov, a political analyst, has stated. "If we are talking about unblocking the transport communications, then the Armenians living in the northern part of Nagorno-Karabakh can be given a chance to travel to Armenia. If someone wants to go from there to the Vardenis District of Armenia, then the way through the Lachin Corridor, through the whole of Karabakh and almost the whole of Armenia will make 500 kilometres, while via Kelbadjar, it makes only 50-60 kilometres," Mr Musabekov told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

If Azerbaijan allows passage through its territory, it will reduce the political confrontation, he has added.

A permit for the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh to travel to Armenia through the territory of Azerbaijan is quite realizable, Avaz Gasanov, a political analyst, believes. "Azerbaijan has already shown its goodwill by letting Armenians to visit the Khudaveng (Didavang) Monastery in the Kelbadjar District. This practice can also be used for travelling to Kelbadjar accompanied by peacemakers," Mr Gasanov has concluded, noting that this step will help to ease tensions.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on January 20, 2021 at 08:02 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medzhid Source: CK correspondent

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