The foundation of the Zangezur Corridor was laid down: what does it offer for regional cooperation? (OPINION)
News.Az presents the article titled "The foundation of the Zangezur Corridor was laid down: what does it offer for regional cooperation?" by Orkhan Baghirov, a Leading Advisor at the Baku-based Center of Analysis of International Relations.
On October 26, with the participation of the leaders of Azerbaijan and Turkey, the foundation of the Horadiz-Jabrayil-Zangilan-Agband highway was laid down. With a length of 124 km, this road is part of the Zangezur Corridor, the establishment of which was envisioned in the November 10 declaration. Thus, it marked the start of the first infrastructure project within the framework of the Zangezur Corridor.
The Zangezur Corridor is a very important project that will change the transportation architecture of the region. After the opening of this corridor, Azerbaijan will be able to restore direct land connection with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (AR) and, through Nakhchivan, with Turkey. This will positively affect the bilateral economic relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey and will accelerate the economic development of the Nakhchivan AR. Compared to the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which connects Azerbaijan with Turkey through Georgia, the new corridor will be about 340 km shorter.
Its proximity to the Karabakh and its connection with other roads in this region will also positively affect the restoration and development of the Karabakh.
Along with the development of economic relations with Azerbaijan through this corridor, Turkey will also get a chance to have a direct connection with the Turkic countries of Central Asia. This, in turn, will have a positive impact on the Turkic countries' economic development and integration.
By abandoning its aggressive policy and joining the new corridor, Armenia could also end its economic blockade and join regional cooperation. The Zangezur Corridor also creates a chance for the restoration of the traditional railway between Armenia and Iran that used to get through the Nakhchivan AR. The opening of this railway will solve the transportation problems between Iran and Armenia and positively affect their bilateral economic relations. For Russia, the new corridor will provide an alternative road for connecting with the countries of the South Caucasus, Turkey and, more broadly, the Middle East.
All these factors demonstrate that the opening of the Zangezur Corridor will positively affect regional integration, giving a chance to make full use of regional cooperation opportunities in the region.
From a more broader perspective, the new corridor will create new direction within international transportation projects such as the North-South International Transport Corridor and the Middle Corridor. This, in turn, will strengthen the position and will increase the importance of the region within the international transportation system.