YEREVAN, September 17. /ARKA/. The Armenian government is working hard to resolve the problems that have emerged after Azerbaijan set up a checkpoint on a section of Goris-Kapan highway which came under its control after the 44-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh last autumn, Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan said at a press briefing on Friday.
According to reports from the area, Azerbaijani forces stop and reportedly tax Iranian commercial trucks passing through it. This was confirmed by Iranian truck drivers and the Armenian National Security Service.
The checkpoint is on a section of a strategic road that connects Armenia with Iran. Armenian forces had pulled out of that road section after the end of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh last autumn. Now Azerbaijani forces control a 21-kilometer stretch of the highway. The other sections of the highway, which is Armenia’s sole transport link with Iran are patrolled by Russian soldiers and border guards.
According to reports from the area, more than a hundred Iranian trucks were stranded on Thursday at the 21-kilometer section of the highway.
According to Mher Grigoryan, the government is also working to improve a circumventing road that passes through the village of Tatev and find alternative solutions.
“Now we are working intensively in both directions, both in terms of solving the problem and in terms of finding alternative solutions. I think that work in both directions will continue and over time we will find a solution to this problem. If we find an alternative infrastructure solution, it will certainly be very good, because it will balance the situation,” Grigoryan said.
“All roads must be in good condition. This is our desire and our goal,” Grigoryan stressed.
After the leaders of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan signed a statement on the cessation of all hostilities in Artsakh on November 9, 2020, more than 190 settlements of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent seven regions came under the control of Azerbaijan. As a result, the borders of the Syunik region in the south of Armenia and the Gegharkunik region in the east appeared in close proximity to the Soviet-time border of Azerbaijan.
This has brought about serious security problems for the residents of both provinces. Reports from local communities say Azerbaijani troops steal Armenian farmers’ livestock and threaten their life and health. Human rights defender Arman Tatoyan has repeatedly called for creating a security zone along the border.