Azerbaijan has unblocked a major Armenian highway between two parts of Armenia’s southern region of Syunik after nearly two days of closure, Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) said on August 27.
The NSS said both sections of the Goris-Kapan road -- Shurnukh-Karmrakar and Goris-Vorotan -- that were closed after an alleged stabbing incident since late August 25 and August 26, respectively, were now open again.
“The Goris-Kapan interstate road is open for all types of vehicles and for free movement of citizens,” the NSS said, adding that Armenia’s border troops and border guards of the Russian Federal Security Service conducted negotiations with the Azerbaijani side for the reopening of the road.
The NSS statement referred to no other details of the negotiations or any conditions on which the road section may have been reopened.
Before the road was closed, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that two Armenian soldiers attempted to stab an Azerbaijani border guard in the area.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry denied there was any incident, calling the Azerbaijani statement a “sheer lie” and “more Azerbaijani disinformation.”
The 21-kilometer section of the Goris-Kapan road became disputed after Baku regained control over much of Nagorno-Karabakh and all Armenian-controlled districts around it as a result of last year’s 44-day war.
An arrangement reached in December 2020, a month after Russia brokered a cease-fire deal to end the conflict, allowed Armenians to continue to use the stretch of the highway passing through Azerbaijani-controlled territory under the supervision of Russian border guards until Armenia builds another road for all types of transportation to connect two parts of the mountainous region.
The road is also vital for Armenian trade with Iran. The Iranian Embassy in Yerevan on August 27 told the state-run Armenpress news agency that Tehran hopes that the latest border crisis between Armenia and Azerbaijan will be resolved peacefully and will not jeopardize commercial ties in the region.
During a session of parliament earlier on August 27, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian accused Azerbaijan of trying to discredit Armenia’s peace efforts by closing the road, but expressed hope that the situation would be resolved soon.
At the same time, he told his ministers to speed up their efforts on the renovation of alternative roads in Syunik to ensure reliable connection between communities and the regional center.
Arman Tatoyan, Armenia’s ombudsman, told the session that problems with travel in the mountainous region had seriously affected the lives of the local population, including their access to goods and medical services. He said that trade between Armenia and Iran had also been hampered by the situation.
Yerevan Says Azerbaijan Has Unblocked Road Connecting Two Parts Of Armenian Region