CAPTION: Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (photo: primeminister.am)

PM Pashinyan Statement on Railway Construction Agreement in Brussels

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YEREVAN (primeminister.am) — At the December 16 cabinet meeting of the Armenian government, before starting the discussion of the agenda, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan presented the agreements reached during the trilateral meeting between Pashinyan, President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in Brussels on December 15. Below is the complete text of the prime minister’s speech.

“Good morning, dear colleagues, we are starting the work of the regular cabinet meeting of December 16, 2021.

“Before referring to the approval of the agenda, I want to say the following. You are aware, I have informed that during the Brussels meeting with the president of Azerbaijan we reaffirmed our decision and agreement on the construction of the Yeraskh-Julfa-Ordubad-Meghri-Horadiz railway. I would like to remind you that this agreement was reached as a result of the discussions of the Armenia-Azerbaijan-Russia trilateral working group on the opening of regional communications, which were co-chaired by the deputy prime ministers of the three countries. In fact, the agreement was recorded on November 26 during the Sochi meeting mediated by Russian President Vladimir Putin. And now, at the meeting in Brussels, mediated by the President of the EU Council Charles Michel, in fact, all this was recorded.

“I want to emphasize that the railway will operate in accordance with the internationally accepted border and customs rules, under the principle of reciprocity and under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the respective countries. Armenia will get access to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation via this railway. Azerbaijan will get a railway connection with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

“I want to draw our attention to the following. If we manage to start a certain and effective dialogue with Turkey, if we manage to achieve the opening of the border and communications, this program can get a much larger scale. That is, in fact, the railway we are talking about exists from Yeraskh to Gyumri, you know that there is also a railway from Gyumri to Kars. But I say all this because we have to start the construction of the railway, of course, before starting the construction there is a lot of work to be done, to design, to announce tenders, to reach agreements. Of course, part of that work has already been done, but now we have to solve this problem with practical, everyday work. Of course, we will hold a consultation in a narrower format in the coming days to further specify our ideas – the timetable and the roadmap. And, of course, our intention and desire is to have that railway as soon as possible.

“I do not want to overestimate the significance of this agreement and project, but on the other hand, I do not want to underestimate it. This is an important agreement, which, of course, I hope we will properly implemented, which will significantly change the economic, investment, of course, also the political and security environment of the region. And we must also focus on solving this problem in the near future.

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“Of course, I also informed that an agreement has been reached with the President of Azerbaijan that we will continue the contacts, trying to form and formulate common views and approaches to the issues on our agenda. That is, to reach agreements and overcome the existing disagreements.

“This is all for the introduction.”

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