Working group on transport unblocking meets in Russia

By Mark Dovich

The Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Russian co-chairs of the working group on unblocking regional transport connections convened in Russia Monday, according to information provided by Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan’s office to Armenpress, the state-run news agency.

“A working meeting of the Co-Chairs of the Tripartite Working Group was held during the 25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum,” read the terse statement from Grigoryan’s office, published Tuesday. No other information has been made public.

Grigoryan last met with his Azerbaijani and Russian counterparts, Shahin Mustafayev and Alexei Overchuk, earlier this month in Moscow.

According to a Russian government read-out of that meeting, the officials discussed “their positions on the issues of border, customs, and other types of control” and “exchanged opinions regarding possible routes” connecting mainland Azerbaijan with the Nakhichevan exclave via Armenia.

The November 2020 ceasefire declaration signed by Armenia and Azerbaijan and brokered by Russia includes a commitment to unblocking “all economic and transport connections in the region,” but nothing has come of it so far.

Leaked government documents published in the Armenian press last week suggest that Baku rejected a proposal Yerevan put forward in December aimed at opening overland routes.

Grigoryan and Mustafayev also head a working group on delimiting the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, but so far no progress has been made on that issue either.

Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan also attended this year’s St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, an annual gathering of Russia’s political and economic elite.

During his visit, Khachaturyan met Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time, exchanging pleasantries and committing to deeper cooperation between Yerevan and Moscow.

Khachaturyan notably revealed last week that the Kremlin privately conceded it made an “oversight” in March by allowing Azerbaijani troops to advance their position toward the Armenian-inhabited village of Parukh in Karabakh.

TAGS: Mher Grigoryan, Alexei Overchuk, Shahin Mustafayev, Vahagn Khachaturyan, unblocking, transport, working group, Russia, St. Petersburg

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