Zangezur Corriod! Gateway to Asia

The 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war reshuffled the regional security order and regional posture for Azerbaijan and Armenia. The point 9 of the November 2020 armistice agreement states that “all economic and transport connections in the region shall be unblocked”. Among others, the so-called “Zangezur corridor” has been the main subject of contestation and potential cooperation between Baku and Yerevan. Potentially, the 43-km corridor should not only connect Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan with Azerbaijan proper, but also with Turkey. Ankara has particularly emphasised the pivotal and strategic role that the “Zangezur corridor” may play in the long run, on both geopolitical and political security ground. The Zangezur corridor is de facto a gateway eastward, connecting potential trade relations between Europe, South Caucasus and the Asian market, especially China. It also avoids an alternative route to potential blockages in time of crisis. The Suez Canal obstruction during the first shockwaves of the pandemic and the Black Sea’s disruption due to Russia’s war against Ukraine, are both instructive. Yet the project arises the thorny question over Armenia’s sovereignty and its national control over the southernmost border with Iran. How will the corridor secure Armenia’s sovereignty over its national border with Iran, and vice versa? With Armenia having no longer control over the border, will the so-called Zangezur corridor strengthen Turkey-Azerbaijan’s ally and impinge on the European context? If so, how will the Ankara-Baku cooperation impact the diversification strategy of the EU trade market in the enlarged Mediterranean region? Will the corridor provide a larger gateway to China which might turn out a security concern for the Caucasus and Europe? Given this token, this aim of this policy research is threefold. First, it aims to overview security-related issues in the region from the Armenian side. Second, it also aims to assess both the potential and risky impacts on the delay of the finalisation of the project across the South Caucasus, as well as Turkey and Iran. Third, it finally lays out a policy analysis of the potential impact on the European trade opportunities provided by the opening of the “Zangezur corridor” vis-à-vis Russia’s control of de jure Ukraine’s coastline.

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Organizer

Gaetano Mauro Potenza 
Organizer
Milan, Metropolitan City of Milan