"Armenia is interested in the Persian Gulf-Black Sea transport corridor." Ararat Mirzoyan's speech

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan gave a speech during a joint press conference with Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and then answered the journalists' questions. The RA MFA presents the full address of Ararat Mirzoyan.

"I am glad to welcome my colleague and good friend to Yerevan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hossein Amir Abdollahian. Mr. Minister, thank you for accepting my invitation and visiting our country. Although we have recently had occasions to hold meetings on various international platforms and communicate by phone, I must mention that our meetings in the capitals of our countries are of greater importance.

Today, my friend Mr. Abdollahian and I noted with satisfaction that the relations between our two countries are based not only on the thousand-year-old friendship and brotherhood of our peoples but also on the deep understanding of our common state natural interests, which are consistently deepening in various fields.

The critical topic of our discussions was the situation related to regional security and stability. I presented to my colleague the details related to the work on developing the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace treaty.

Naturally, I referred to the details and consequences of the large-scale aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia on September 13-14. I reaffirmed the imperative of withdrawing the Azerbaijani armed forces from the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia, the release and repatriation of the Armenian prisoners of war illegally held in Azerbaijan, the clarification of the fate of the forced disappearances and the maintenance of the ceasefire regime.

We agree that the problems between the region's countries should be resolved through negotiations and constructive dialogue, excluding the use of force or the threat of the use of force.

We highly appreciate the moral and precise position of friendly Iran regarding the territorial integrity of Armenia, as well as the efforts of the Iranian side to establish stability and peace in the region.

During the meeting, my colleague and I discussed issues related to our cooperation on bilateral and multilateral platforms. We expressed our readiness to enrich the Armenian-Iranian agenda with joint efforts. We exchanged thoughts on the prospects of giving a new charge to the existing cooperation in the fields of trade, energy, transport, and high-tech. We discussed the topic of continuing and completing large joint economic projects.

We attach particular importance to strengthening relations with Iran in road infrastructure. Of course, we must emphasize the importance of implementing the "Persian Gulf-Black Sea" international transport corridor project, which can also include other interested parties and countries.

I am glad that this visit of Minister Abdollahian will also be marked by a significant event, the opening ceremony of the Consulate General of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Kapan, which we will participate in tomorrow with my colleague. This is a significant and symbolic step, which testifies to the readiness to raise the cooperation between our two countries and friendly peoples to a qualitatively new level. I am also sure that the Consulate General of Iran will positively contribute to developing the trade-economic, transport, energy, and scientific-cultural sectors in the Syunik Region.

Dear Mr. Abdollahia, once again, allow me to thank you for being in Yerevan during this challenging and vital period for our countries. I will finish my speech with this and gladly pass it on to you."

Question. Dear Mr. Minister, agreements were recently reached in Prague to resolve the border disputes between Azerbaijan and Armenia. I want to be informed about the mechanisms discussed to solve this problem.

Ararat Mirzoyan. Thank you for the question. Yes, as you mentioned, that meeting took place in Prague. And this is by no means the only meeting implemented and organized within the framework of peace efforts. Our discussions regarding the peace treaty, as well as other issues in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, are ongoing, on different platforms, in various formats.

Everywhere we try to be constructive and find mutually acceptable solutions. Perhaps it will not be an exaggeration to say that the main obstacle to making significant progress everywhere is Azerbaijan's fundamentalist approach and reluctance to reach mutually acceptable solutions with Armenia. We hope this obstacle will be overcome, and we will manage to get mutually acceptable situations and solutions shortly.

Question. At what stage is the Persian Gulf-Black Sea International Transport Corridor project, what prospects can it open for the region's countries, and what steps are being taken to involve other countries, particularly India, in this project?

Ararat Mirzoyan. Adding to the honorable minister's words, I want to say that Armenia is interested in the Persian Gulf-Black Sea transport corridor, and we, like Iran, and Bulgaria, have already signed an agreement on this; negotiations are also underway with other countries. And also with countries that were not initially involved in this process.

I think the corridor will be attractive, including for India, and we will be able to bring this idea to life.

But I apologize and want to continue answering the previous question as well. Continuing the topic of negotiations, I want to say that I presented the constructiveness of the Armenian side and mentioned that, unfortunately, we are only facing extremist approaches from Azerbaijan. Still, there is also a circumstance in that I think the sincerity of the parties in building peace can be doubted, at least one side; it is as follows. When peace negotiations are being conducted parallel to threats of use of force, or in reality, on the ground, as they say, that force is used, and aggression by one negotiating country against another negotiating nation. I think this world, perhaps everyone will agree, is not the best form of intense negotiations and is not the best example of peace; it is not proof of the desire to achieve peace. Thank you:

Question. My question concerns the construction of the connecting corridor between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan. I would like to hear your point of view in this regard.

Ararat Mirzoyan. Thank you for the question. I think, however, there was some mistake in the question's wording.

Of course, in 2020, After the aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh, the military operations were stopped by the trilateral declaration of Armenia. The subsequent and related trilateral statements also emphasized the importance of unblocking the transportation and economic infrastructures of the region. And here, in the context of freeing all these infrastructures, the announcements also emphasize establishing transport communication between the central part of Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan. We participate in these discussions in the format of a tripartite working group. And we, as we have stated many times before, are ready to open the roads for Azerbaijani passenger and cargo transportation as well.

Of course, fixing and not doubting that all infrastructures to be opened or newly built must remain under the sovereignty of the countries and operate according to the laws of the countries whose territory; that pass, including the road you mentioned, by which Azerbaijanis can reach Nakhichevan from the central part of Azerbaijan, or, in general, citizens and goods of third countries can use this road to cross their path.

We believe that there may be more modern solutions in this matter, such as electronic cargo declaration, etc. I don't want to go into too many details at this point...

The Armenian side's primary demand in this regard is that the roads should remain under our sovereignty and operate under our legislation. Unfortunately, as I mentioned a little while ago, we are facing the stubborn behavior of Azerbaijan in this matter. I can also say that we see that other third countries, sometimes even unexpected third countries, support the Azerbaijani interpretation of this road. I repeat, and we have said many times, that there is no question of opening an extraterritorial corridor through the territory of Armenia or with different regulations specific to it.

Question. I ask my question to Mr. Mirzoyan. Considering the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey, I would like to know what progress there is in this regard, especially considering Turkey's support to Azerbaijan and their statement regarding support to Azerbaijan during their last negotiations. I wanted to know what stage it is at and what expectations.

Ararat Mirzoyan. Thank you for the question. Indeed, this issue is also essential for the regional geopolitical picture.

You know that the two countries have appointed their special representatives, who have already had four meetings and substantive discussions to establish diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey and open the closed border between the two countries, the wall closed by Turkey. I also want to mention that during this time, I participated in the diplomatic forum in Antalya at the invitation of the Turkish Foreign Minister, and also in Prague, which we talked about a little while ago, the meeting of the Prime Minister of Armenia and the President of Turkey took place a few days ago.

I must say that I consider the process positive, and indeed the landmark is the establishment of relations and the opening the border. At the same time, I think it can positively influence the Armenia-Azerbaijan negotiation process.

I want to say again that sometimes there are statements about the issues that give reason to think that, for example, Turkey is perhaps more interested in opening the corridor with an extraterritorial status than Azerbaijan. I repeat, a more constructive position of Turkey in the Armenia-Turkey process, on the contrary, would have a positive effect on the Armenia-Azerbaijan process.