Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway
By Messenger Staff
Friday, February 15Azerbaijan's Minister of Transport Ziya Mammadov said the Azeri government will not allow Armenia to use the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway until the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is solved. Mammadov stressed that the "aggressor" country of Armenia "which currently occupies Azeri territory" will never be allowed to use a railway initiated and built by Azerbaijan. The Minister made this statement during the meeting of Eastern Partnership countries' ministers of transportation in Tbilisi on February 13th. Armenia has occupied the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan since 1994, after a six-year war between the two countries.
Mammadov made the statement in response to a comment from Armenian Deputy Minister of Transport Artashes Avetisyan, who expressed his country's readiness to join the project and use the railway.
Despite Mammadov's strong statements Armenian government representatives repeated that Armenian companies hope to use the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway after its completion. They said the decision to allow the transportation of Armenian goods through the Georgian –Armenian railway corridor and onwards to Turkey is the Georgian government's decision. Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is expected to be completed later in 2013.