Asia - Pacific

Azerbaijan, Armenia agree to restore railway line

Decision comes after trilateral meeting with European Council head in Brussels

Emre Gurkan Abay and Merve Aydogan   | 15.12.2021
Azerbaijan, Armenia agree to restore railway line

ANKARA/YEREVAN, Armenia

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced Wednesday the restoration of a railway line with longtime rival Azerbaijan.

The decision came shortly after a trilateral meeting held in Brussels with European Council head Charles Michel, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Pashinyan.

In a Facebook post, Pashinyan said: "We have ratified the agreement with the President of Azerbaijan on the restoration of railway transport. The railway will operate under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of countries, in accordance with internationally accepted border and customs regulations."

In a statement after the meeting, Michel said: "It was agreed to proceed with the restoration of railway lines, with appropriate arrangements for border and customs controls, based on the principle of reciprocity. The EU is ready to support the development of connectivity links, in line with its Economic and Investment Plan.”

Michel also noted that the Azerbaijani and Armenian officials agreed to follow up on the outcomes of their meeting and to stay engaged.

"The EU will also continue to support confidence-building measures between Armenia and Azerbaijan," he added.

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 over the border regions of Nagorno Karabakh -- which were liberated by the Azerbaijani army in a 44-day war that ended in November 2020 with a Russian-brokered cease-fire.

Since then, efforts have been made to normalize relations between the two neighboring countries.

Last month, Aliyev and Pashinyan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia. Following the meeting, the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia expressed their readiness to start the process of demarcation and delimitation of their contested border.

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