Stepanakert has given its consent to the alternative route connecting Armenia to Artsakh. Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) President Arayik Harutyunyan stated this in the Artsakh National Assembly, and noted that there were several options, but this one was chosen.
Referring to the concerns that in case of launching that route, Berdzor (Lachin) town and Aghavno village—where hundreds of Armenians live—will pass under Azerbaijan, Harutyunyan said. "Negotiations are underway now, we will see what opportunities there are. As far as I know, the residents of Berdzor town and Sus [village] have received their compensation under our social programs. Regardless of everything, we need to bypass Berdzor, and I consider the chance for our compatriots to live in Berdzor settlement in the future to be very small. As for Aghavno, we will continue our negotiations, our struggle."
Arayik Harutyunyan noted that they had had several proposals related to that route—and both from Azerbaijan and Russia.
"All the proposals were rejected. The proposed highway has been discussed several times at the [Artsakh] Security Council, which was attended by all the political forces present in the [Artsakh] National Assembly. We have chosen, in our opinion, the best option. There are secrets that I do not want to voice here. Why did we choose that option? Based on our future security concern.
After finishing the road, we will have the opportunity to say our opinion. Does it qualitatively correspond to the conditions we want? Will it be safe? And, in my opinion, it will be much safer," the Artsakh President said.
As for Armenians leaving those settlements, he stated that this matter was not discussed today.
"It is mainly about Aghavno settlement. That issue has not been discussed yet, we are negotiating. It is not about Berdzor, as according to the corresponding point of the [trilateral] statement [of November 9, 2020], we are obligated to leave [Berdzor]. [But] we have things to do ion connection with Aghavno, the negotiations in that regard are continuing, we have not told anyone to 'get out of Berdzor,'" the Artsakh President said.