By Vugar Khalilov
Azerbaijan is building an alternative road that will bypass liberated Lachin city, State Agency of Azerbaijan Automobile Roads official Hidayat Rustamov has said.
At a briefing on the results of the first half of 2021, he said that the current road to Lachin city is under the control of Russian peacekeepers and therefore, Azerbaijan had started the construction of another road that will bypass the city and ensure the convenient movement.
Rustamov added that the length of the new road will be about 80 kilometers.
Along with the local companies, Turkish firms have been involved in the road construction.
“The Turkish companies are involved in the construction of 372 kilometers of roads, while local companies are constructing the rest of 282 kilometers in the Karabakh region,” he added.
About 4,700 workers have been involved in the construction and restoration of the roads in Karabakh, he concluded.
Furthermore, Azerbaijan started the massive road construction in its liberated lands right after the Second Karabakh War in late 2020.
On July 28, President Ilham Aliyev signed an order to initially allocate AZN 10m ($5.88m) for building road infrastructure in liberated Kalbajar and Lachin regions.
In all, Azerbaijan allocated AZN 2.2bn ($1.3bn) for the reconstruction on the liberated territories in 2021. In particular, these funds will be used to restore the infrastructure (electricity, gas, water, communications, roads, education, health, etc), as well as cultural and historical monuments.
The Russian-brokered trilateral peace deal signed by Baku, Yerevan and Moscow in November 10, 2020, ended the war and stipulated the return of Kalbajar, Lachin and Aghdam regions occupied by the Armenian forces in the war in the early 1990s.
The passage zone, called the Lachin corridor, is currently the only road between Karabakh and Armenia. In line with the trilateral deal, it will be under the Russian peacekeepers' control for five years.
Lachin, which is located on the Armenian border, became one of the first targets of the Armenian forces during the war in the 1990s, due to the strategic importance of the corridor. By occupying Lachin, Armenians obtained a direct link between Armenia and Karabakh, and thanks to the road, they occupied entire Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions. Separatists in Karabakh used the corridor for military reinforcement and infrastructure and commercial needs.
Yerevan changed Lachin's demographic structure and resettled thousands of Armenians from Armenia's different regions in villages abandoned by Azerbaijanis in Lachin. Before the occupation, over 65,000 Azerbaijanis lived in Lachin.
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