A section of the vital road has been blocked by a large group of Azerbaijanis since Monday morning. They are demanding that Karabakh’s leadership allow Azerbaijani officials to inspect mining operations in the Armenian-populated territory.
The authorities in Stepanakert and Yerevan say that the Azerbaijani government organized the road blockade in breach of a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement that stopped the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani war. They have also accused Baku of halting natural gas supplies to Karabakh on Tuesday.
“The Secretary-General is following with concern the ongoing developments around the Lachin corridor,” a spokesman for Guterres, Stephane Dujarric, said late on Wednesday.
“The Secretary-General urges the sides to de-escalate tensions and to ensure freedom and security of movement along the corridor, in line with the previously reached agreements,” Dujarric added in written comments.
The statement followed Guterres’s meeting in New York with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan. According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Mirzoyan briefed him on the situation around the Lachin corridor and stressed the “need for the international community’s targeted reaction” to its closure.
Unlike the United States and the European Union, the UN chief was careful not to openly criticize Baku for the road blockade.
The blockade sparked a series of protests outside the UN office in Yerevan. The protesters include Artak Beglarian, a senior Karabakh official.
Beglarian and a group of his supporters began a nonstop sit-in there on Tuesday to demand a UN Security Council authorization of the Russian peacekeeping mission in Karabakh. They blocked the entrance to the office on Wednesday.