“The United States remains concerned the Lachin Corridor has now been blocked for over three weeks, creating a grave humanitarian situation,” Michael Carpenter, the U.S. ambassador to the OSCE headquarters in Vienna, tweeted over the weekend.
“We thank [the International Committee of the Red Cross] for providing critical aid during this time, but call on Azerbaijan and Russia to restore access immediately,” Carpenter said.
The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan added its voice to the call on Monday. In written comments to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service, it reiterated the U.S. State Department’s earlier statements that the Azerbaijani blockade “sets back the peace process and undermines international confidence.”
Commenting on the possibility of U.S. humanitarian aid to Karabakh, the embassy said the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is trying to address “the needs of displaced persons in Armenia.” It did not elaborate.
The head of the USAID, Samantha Power, spoke with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan on Friday. According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, Mirzoyan said the international community should take “clear steps” to reopen the Lachin corridor and prevent a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Karabakh.
Government-backed Azerbaijani protesters blocked a section of the sole road connecting Karabakh to Armenia on December 12. They are demanding that Baku be allowed to inspect “illegal” ore mines in Karabakh.
The authorities in Yerevan and Stepanakert have rejected these demands as a gross violation of the Russian-brokered agreement that stopped the 2020 Armenian-Azerbaijani war.
Citing the continuing blockade, Mirzoyan refused to meet with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov on December 23 for talks that were due to be hosted by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The State Department said last week that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is planning to phone Mirzoyan and Bayramov “in the coming days.”