“Regionalization” – Pashinyan on foreign policy, growing global significance of opening Armenia-Turkey border


YEREVAN, JANUARY 10, ARTSAKHPRESS. Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan said Turkey’s lifting of the ban on air cargo trade with Armenia is a commendable step.

“It is important that not only negotiations take place in the relations between Armenia and Turkey but also events that would ensure the dynamics of these negotiations. This is very important also for the work of the special representatives [for normalization], Pashinyan said in response to a question from ARMENPRESS at a press conference.

PM Pashinyan reminded about his phone call with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a meeting with him in Prague and said: “It’s important to have dynamics in the relations. I hope that soon the [land] border will be opened for citizens of third countries, and we also expect the opening of the border for diplomatic passport holders.”

The Armenian PM said that these events are important not only in terms of the Armenia-Turkey relations, but also in context of the serious ongoing changes in international logistics chains. “I think that in terms of international cargo shipments this region is becoming a lot more interesting than before, it acquires big international significance. In this sense, of course the opening of the border between Armenia and Turkey and the opening of the Armenian-Turkish railway is obtaining greater global significance. I hope we will have the opportunity to move in this direction. I must also record our readiness on restoring the Yeraskh-Sadarak-Ordubad-Meghri-Horadiz railway. We are ready for it,” PM Pashinyan said, adding that there is interest to conduct land freight forwarding through Armenian territory, opening of roads in East-West directions and building new roads.

“The only thing that is hindering this all is Azerbaijan’s continuous narrative about some kind of corridors. We are ready to realize our vision of the Armenian Crossroad. We also understand that due to well-known circumstances global changes are taking place in international cargo shipments, logistic chains and routes, and these changes can be used for the benefit of stability and peace in the region, and not the opposite,” the Armenian PM said, noting that in that case the North-South road and railway cargo shipments will be more active. “In this case we are also speaking about restoring railway connection between Armenia and the Autonomous Republic of Nakhijevan, that is, through Azerbaijani territory from Iran to Armenia and from Iran to Azerbaijan and Iran to Russia, we are ready to move in this direction,” he said.

Asked whether or not mutual visits of the leaders of the two countries are possible as part of upcoming football matches between the national teams of Armenia and Turkey, Pashinyan said: “That certainly depends on the general situation and political will of both sides. We think that the positive opportunities that will be created for normalization of relations can be used.”

If Armenia truly wants to be a developed and safe country then the quality of its relations in the region must be changed, Pashinyan said. “We are presenting a new point in the government’s 2021-2026 program as an important foreign policy direction, and we call this direction regionalization. Historically, we’ve had more fears than we’ve seen opportunities in our region. We think it’s time to change our point of view,” Pashinyan said.

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