Establishing a transport corridor through the use of force would provoke a strong response, said James O'Brien, the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, as he addressed the issue of the Zangezur corridor, a project proposed by Azerbaijan, AzVision.az reports.
This route aims to create a transportation link between Azerbaijan's mainland and its exclave, Nakhchivan, by traversing Armenian territory. This corridor emerged as part of the trilateral agreement following the 2020 second Karabakh war.
“Any corridor should only be created with Armenia's consent, leading to a transit boom for regional countries and global markets as access to specified goods will be ensured. A transport corridor created in any other way, through the use of force, or involving Iran, will face a resolute response,” O'Brien said.
Here O'Brien hints at the fact that Azerbaijani officials have repeatedly stated that the country is ready to lay the Zangezur corridor through Iran, if Armenia delays this process.
Additionally, the US State Department representative suggests that there should be an alternative to the Russian peacekeepers stationed in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh as per the trilateral agreement. He states that the US is prepared to present an initiative, and Azerbaijan and Armenia should engage in talks with the US. It raises curiosity, why O'Brien's thinks Azerbaijan is interested in US mediation when it comes to controlling its sovereign territories, and what negotiations with Armenia on this matter could be considered?
President Ilham Aliyev has consistently stressed that Azerbaijan has no plans to address the Zangezur corridor matter through military actions.
“We don't need a new war. We have achieved what we wanted, we have restored international law, we have restored historical justice, we have restored our national dignity, and we have shown the enemy where it belongs,” said President Ilham Aliyev, thereby dispelling all concerns of Armenia and its Western allies about any military threat.
Regarding the transit route project through Iran, Azerbaijan has the right to autonomously determine its cooperation preferences with other countries. Especially, since Azerbaijan and Iran are currently well cooperating on various transit projects.
O'Brien seems to be attempting interference in Azerbaijan's internal matters. The State Department representative could be more effective by urging Armenia to fulfill its long-standing promises regarding regional communication, taking tangible steps for the Zangezur corridor, and signing a peace treaty with Azerbaijan. Baku will not permit external imposition of decisions, as it has steadfastly resisted such influence in the past.