Azerbaijan has announced that they have begun the construction of a four-lane, 100km highway to the mountain fortress city of Shusha, liberated from ethnic Armenians during the recently concluded six-week Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The groundbreaking ceremony for the road apparently happened while the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and First-Vice President and First Lady Merhiban Aliyeva toured areas captured during the short war. The Ahmadbeyli to Shusha (known to Armenians as Shushi) highway will take a route via Fuzuli. It is to stretch 101.5 kilometers while its road width will be 37.3 meters, the news report said. Various sources reported that the road will link up with the Baku-Shirvan-Saatly-Horadiz route and will act as the major artery for the reconstruction of towns and villages.
The road will traverse settlements disconnected from Azerbaijan for three decades while they were under the control of ethnic Armenians. Azerbaijan may bring in foreign companies to speed up the construction of the highway. The construction of the 100 kilometer road is in line with the country’s other plans to construct roads along the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. There are already 2 roads that are along the territory however the third road promises to even further complicate matters. The territories that the first two roads pass through, Lachin and Kelbajar, are the most likely that Azerbaijan might cede in final negotiation. This third road, the southernmost route, is slated to connect Kapan in Armenia with Hadrut in Karabakh, passing through the Gubadli and Jabrayil regions. Azerbaijan almost certainly does not consider those territories to be negotiable.
“The construction of the highway in that area is one of the most needed projects, which will greatly benefit our other strategic goals, the development of the Arax Valley,” the portion of the Armenian-controlled territories lying along the Arax River, which forms the border with Iran.