At the August 11 session of the government, on the proposal of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, the executive allocated about 1 billion AMD for the major rehabilitation of the Tatev-Aghvani road.
Speaking about that road, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated that it was built in a force majeure situation.
“You remember that at the end of last year, that road was put into operation due to a slight force majeure situation. And initially, the road was planned for inter-community purpose. And it was commissioned, but later this year we saw that the road has very serious problems,” Pashinyan said.
Let us remind that since August of last year, the Azerbaijani armed forces established control over some sections of the Goris-Kapan-IRI border interstate road and placed guard controls there prohibiting the free movement of people and vehicles. At that time, the M2-Tatev-Aghvani-M2 road became the only functioning road connecting the southern part of Syunik Marz and Iran to Armenia.
The road was finally asphalted and put into operation in November 2021 after which Azerbaijan ultimately closed the Goris-Kapan road.
Only a few months after the rehabilitation of the road, it began to fall apart, and in some places it even became difficult for cars to pass which was the reason that the government allocated money for its rehabilitation today.
However, contrary to the Prime Minister’s assertion that the road was rehabilitated and commissioned in a force majeure situation, the facts show otherwise.
The rehabilitation of the M2-Tatev-Aghvani-M2 road from Tatev village to the starting point of Aghvani village started even before the war, at the beginning of 2020.
The tender for the rehabilitation of this section of the road was announced back in February 2020, that is, more than half a year before the war. As a result of an open tender, a contract worth 1 billion 267 million AMD was signed with “Builder Construction” LLC. At the end of 2020, the rehabilitation works of the Tatev-Aghvani road with a length of 12.5 km were completed.
The section (30.5 km) from the village of Aghvani to the M2 interstate highway adjacent to the city of Kapan still remained poor.
From May 12, 2021, the armed forces of Azerbaijan invaded the territory of Armenia from the areas of Lake Sev in Syunik and Verin Shorzha village in Gegharkunik and continue to remain in those areas to this day.
More than a month after the invasion of the Azerbaijani armed forces, on June 17, the government decided to rehabilitate the 30.5 km section of the Aghvani-Kapan road. For this purpose, more than 4 billion AMD was allocated to the companies “Osmar”, “Ararat-Chanshin” (the section marked in green in the photo) and “Caravan” (the section marked in red in the photo) with the procurement procedure from one entity for the rehabilitation of the road.
The rehabilitation of the road and the commissioning lasted about 5 months (June-November) after which Azerbaijan ultimately closed the Goris-Kapan road.
In just 5 months, the authorities repaired the bypass road and, taking into account the large scale of work, the road was commissioned in a truly force majeure situation.
Force majeure or negligence?
On December 20 of last year, during a press conference held in the Parliament, MPs of the National Assembly “Armenia” faction Gegham Manukyan and Anna Grigoryan stated that there was a document according to which the Armenian troops withdrew from the Goris-Kapan road section of the Syunk marz, and as a result, the control of that section of the road had passed to Azerbaijan. According to the deputies, the content of the document is kept confidential, and even they did not manage to familiarize themselves with it.
Secretary of the Security Council, Armen Grigoryan, responded to this statement, saying that the government did not conceal anything. “We talked publicly about almost all the processes that took place after November 9, the prime minister said why he made decisions to withdraw the troops.
The document is about something completely different, I am surprised that the opposition made a discovery after a year. The document stated that RA would continue to use that road until an alternative road was in place. […] We have talked about this, and it is surprising that the opposition makes discoveries about the known facts,” said the Secretary of the Security Council.
The document in question was, in fact, the document signed in December 2020 between the Ministers of Defense of Armenia and Russia Vagharshak Harutyunyan and Sergey Shoigu, the existence of which, although the authorities claim that the public was informed, became known only in the fall of 2021.
In fact, the Secretary of the Security Council stated that the document signed in December 2020 was not about the withdrawal of troops, but about the use of the road which would last until Armenia built another bypass road (in this case, the Tatev-Aghvani road). Therefore, if the Armenian authorities had started its construction from December 2020, they would have had 11 months at their disposal instead of 5.
Force majeure directly translated from French means an event that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled.
Thus, by signing a document in December 2020, the government agreed to abandon the Goris-Kapan road as soon as the bypass road was built, however the alternative road construction started more than half a year after the signing, resulting in a lack of time for the proper construction of the road.
Thus, the “force majeure” formulated by Prime Minister Pashinyan was not a situation created by the effect of an insurmountable force, but a consequence of not taking effective steps in this direction for more than half a year.