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Yerevan to provide no corridor for Baku, if transport restrictions persist, says Pashinyan

Opening transport links will give Armenia direct railway communication with Iran and Russia, according to the country's acting prime minister

YEREVAN, May 19. /TASS/. The Armenian authorities are not considering opening a separate corridor for Azerbaijan to Nakhichevan without both countries’ mutual lifting of transport restrictions in the region, acting Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Wednesday.

"Opening transport links is not simply acceptable for Armenia: this is a top priority task as Armenia will get direct railway communication with Iran and Russia under these accords. Armenia did not discuss, is not discussing and will not discuss the ‘corridor logic,’" the government’s press office quoted Pashinyan as saying.

Pashinyan noted that the work of the trilateral commission led by the deputy prime ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan was quite effective and constructive. Currently, work was underway on fulfilling the accords reached, he said.

"It is strange that a provocation [the incident on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on May 12] occurred at this stage. As a whole, I consider Azerbaijan’s actions as destructive. These steps are creating tension in the region," Pashinyan said.

On May 12, the Armenian Defense Ministry reported that the Azerbaijani forces attempted to carry out "certain activities" in one of the Syunik border region’s districts to "adjust the border." The ministry added that the Azerbaijani troops halted their activities following some steps taken by Armenian forces.

In the evening of the same day, acting Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a meeting of the republic's Security Council, during which he slammed these events as an encroachment on Armenia’s territory. According to Pashinyan, the Azerbaijani forces crossed Armenia’s state border, moving 3.5 kilometers into the country.

Following these developments, Yerevan announced it had turned to the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) over the escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. Apart from Armenia, the CSTO includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Last autumn, after the end of hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict area, some seven regions surrounding the area came under Baku's control, moving the Armenian-Azerbaijani border closer to the Syunik and Gegargunik regions. Also, an agreement was reached on unblocking transport communications in the region, including a link between mainland Azerbaijan and its Nakhichevan exclave.