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Since the fall of the Soviet Union relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan have remained hostile, heightening tensions in the South Caucasus region. The loss of transport infrastructure which connected both states during the Soviet times entails a welfare loss for the whole region but most acutely for Armenia, a small landlocked nation undergoing an economic blockade by its eastern and western neighbors – Azerbaijan and Turkey. The blockade has diminished the importance of railroads for the country as the only state effectively connected with Armenia via rail is Georgia.
The recent trilateral statement signed by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia has a clause about opening all economic and transport links in the region, which implies a revamping of the Nakhijevan-Yerevan-Baku-Makhachkala railroad line connecting Armenia to Russia through Azerbaijan as well as the mainland of Azerbaijan with Nakhijevan. Nevertheless, this clause has not yet been fulfilled due to disagreement regarding the definition of “corridor” and the reluctance of Azerbaijan to release prisoners of war, hostages, and other detained persons, which it still holds.
A comprehensive estimation of the benefits to the region from opening the railroad for the would be challenging to summarize in such a short paper. Therefore, this paper will focus on the importance of the railroad for Armenia only. The paper also examines a possible solution to the stalemate resulting from the arbitrary interpretation of the 9th point of the trilateral statement which refers to the unblocking of all economic and transport links.
Also in the following document:
- Understanding Transport Corridors
- A Quibble Leading to a Cul-de-sac!
- The Importance of Railways for Armenia
- New Opportunities for Armenia and for the Region