The strategy of Azerbaijan is to become the hotspot of cross-regional communication along the East West direction, and for this a large infrastructure plan is being devised by the government, Daniel Pommier Vincelli, a researcher from Italia's Sapienza University, told Trend.
"Azerbaijan’s role in the region is becoming paramount for different reasons. Azerbaijan is a stable country, with a growing state of law and an environment perceptive on foreign investments. After the crisis of mid-2010s Azerbaijani economy recovered steadily and now energy prices rise benefit the development in South Caucasus. Azerbaijan is not only a gas supplier but becoming a larger buyer of goods and services from western and Turkish firms," he said.
According to the expert, both East and West need Azerbaijan as a kind of "middleman".
"It is now time for a regional power, such as Azerbaijan, to talk to both sides and able to ease the divide between the West and the rest. This is a geopolitical premise. Practically speaking, Azerbaijan is devising active policies in order to increase connectivity through the country in order to become a commercial hub," Vincelli explained.
Regarding Karabakh’s role in the regional transportation system, the researcher noted that Azerbaijan, not only Karabakh, is in deep change – economically and socially.
"I visited liberated Karabakh in April 2022 and I could see the great effort to establish an infrastructure plan in a region virtually isolated by outer word for almost 30 years. I could mention the Fuzuli International Airport, the new road to Shusha and the restoration work ongoing, which is becoming a huge tourist attraction," Vincelli said.
Speaking further, the expert noted that the significance of the Zangazur Corridor project is crucial.
"The physical isolation is the dire consequence of war and political tensions. The tripartite agreement [between Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia] of November 2020 contains the provision of Zangazur Corridor. This corridor is a way to connect the whole region to itself, and to the rest of the world," he said.