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The repair of a highway that connects the Armenian capital Yerevan with Sevan-Dilijan-Ijevan and Noyemberian is almost finished. Funds for this massive road rehabilitation project have come from Lincy Fund, set up by a US-based Armenian billionaire Kirk Kerkorian. Many drivers say that even under the Soviets the road was not as good as now.

The section of the road that goes through the Dillijan mountain pass has become wider, and after the construction of the Sevan-Dilijan tunnel, drivers will be saved from driving through the dangerous section of the road. Now the travel from Noyemberian to Yerevan takes from 2.5-3 hours, instead of previous 4-5 hours.

Two sections on this road are not being repaired. The word is about the sections, connecting Kirants with Voskepar and from Voskepar to Baghanis, as a new road is being built between these settlements. The old road runs through Azerbaijani territory. In early 90-s these villages were under the direct fire from the Azerbaijani side. Dozens of Armenians were killed. To avoid this drivers had to go first to Vanadzor and from there to Ijevan making some several dozens km of extra travel. The only decision was to “liberate” part of that road, which was done in 1990-1991 and two Azeri villages , Low Ayrum and Upper Ayrum, went under Armenian control.

In 1992 an Armenian exclave in Azerbaijan, the village of Artsvashen, was occupied by Azeris. There were rumors that Armenians gave out Artsvashen in return for the two Azeri villages. If it is true this means that Artsvashen was surrendered intentionally. The then defense minister swore that it was not possible to defend Artsvashen. Then why Armenian troops were not pulled out from the village in due time to avoid dozens of victims. Perhaps, to justify the surrender. It would be desirable that Armenian defense minister give an official explanation why these two sections between Kirants and Voskepar and Voskepar-Baghanis are detoured. Does this mean that Armenia is going to give back the two Azeri villagesto Azerbaijan. If yes, what Armenia is to receive in return?

By Tatoul Hakobian

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