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Armenian Foreign Minister in Turkey: "Unblock the Transit Routes"

On March 2, at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan participated in the panel discussion entitled “International Trade, Connectivity and Interdependence” and called for the unblocking of trade routes in the region. 

 Mirzoyan, according to his office, said:

“Whatever we say about interconnectivity, about making efforts to increase international trade, transit, the understanding that it will also bring more people to people contacts, increasing the interconnectivity and interdependence will be beneficial from the economic aspect. In Armenia, which is a landlocked country, we understand the importance of international trade and connectivity probably more than others. We are not only a landlocked country, we have four neighbors with only two open borders: our borders with the other two neighbors are closed and have been closed for already three decades, but this is a topic probably for another discussion. For this discussion, I think it would be enough to mention that we are engaged in negotiations with both neighbors to make it possible to open the borders and establish normal relations.

I said that there are two aspects of the issue: economic benefits, but also a political aspect. We believe that increasing interconnectivity is beneficial not only from the economic aspect of the issue but also brings more, as I said, interdependence and thus also becoming a significant factor for peace as well. 

Developing the topic about regional connectivity, Minister Mirzoyan said:

“We believe that’s the case at least in our region, so to prove and show our interest and readiness to be engaged in regional transit routes, making efforts to increase trade, etc. we came up with the initiative the “Crossroads of Peace”. In this title, you can see that we developed this project not only as an economic but also, as I said, a factor of potential peace in the region. So, according to this initiative, we suggest unlocking all the transit routes, and all the transport infrastructure in the region. We see basically four conditions for an environment in which these infrastructures could be unblocked, and I will share these principles which are fair enough to be the basis for regional projects.

So the first principle is that the infrastructure that is going to be unlocked should remain under the sovereignty of the countries on the territories of which they exist. This could seem natural, but when it comes to our region details are very important. 

The second principle is that all infrastructure should function according to the national legislation of the countries. Also I would like to mention the possible simplification of procedures: we live in the 21st century, we need to simplify procedures. There are modern solutions, there are technologies. So if there is a political will, we can always find solutions.”

Mirzoyan concluded: “The unblocking of regional communications should be done in accordance with the principles of equality and reciprocity. I can not demand my Iraqi colleague to grant me access to use their railways while denying them reciprocity. So there are details on which we can work together if there is a political will and we, Armenia, are more than ready to do it.”

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