By Jirair Libaridian
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
On January 19, 2023, the author gave an interview to the Azerbaijani language service of the RFE/RL, the focus of which was the argument presented in the article below, not yet published at the time. The understanding was that the 18- 20-minute interview would be released without any editing that would change the sense of the interview. That service used a two-minute segment from that interview as part of its news program and ignored the more substantive segment of the Nakhichevan corridor. After the posting of this article on the Mirror-Spectator website, the RFE/RL Azerbaijani service posted the full transcript of the interview on its website (https://www.azadliq.org/a/jirayr-libaridyan/32237504.html).
One of the thorny issues between Armenia and Azerbaijan, if not the thorniest, is a demand by Azerbaijan for what it refers to as a “corridor” that would connect its southwestern provinces to its Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan, an exclave separated by Armenian territory. That corridor would run through the southern Meghri district of Armenia.
The specifications regarding the corridor have changed; and it appears that Baku may be demanding full or quasi-full control over the portion of land that would constitute that passageway, at the expense of Armenia’s sovereignty.
Paragraph 9 of the tripartite November 9, 2020, Ceasefire Statement that ended the 44-day war, signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, stipulates the following: “The Republic of Armenia shall guarantee the security of transport connections between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic in order to arrange unobstructed movement of persons, vehicles and cargo in both directions. The Border Guard Service of the Russian Federal Security Service shall be responsible for overseeing the transport connections.”