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Armenia Urges International Action To End Karabakh Blockade


Ani Badalian, a spokersperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia
Ani Badalian, a spokersperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia

A diplomatic representative in Armenia has stressed the need for international calls and decisions on restoring free and safe access to Nagorno-Karabakh to be acted upon amid a deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Armenian-populated region surrounded by Azerbaijan.

Problems with shortages of foodstuffs, medicines and other essential goods have remained acute in Nagorno-Karabakh for weeks as Azerbaijan continues to keep a convoy of Armenian trucks with humanitarian supplies stranded at the entrance to the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Armenia with the region on which Azerbaijan set up a checkpoint in April and tightened the effective blockade several weeks later.

The United States, the European Union and Russia have repeatedly called for an immediate end to the blockade of the corridor that Yerevan and Stepanakert insist must remain only under the control of Russian peacekeepers in accordance with the terms of a Moscow-brokered trilateral ceasefire agreement that put an end to a deadly six-week Armenian-Azerbaijani war in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020.

Baku has dismissed such appeals, saying that the Karabakh Armenians should only be supplied with food and other basic items from Azerbaijan.

A number of international organizations have also issued appeals urging the reopening of the Lachin Corridor. Among them was the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

In a tweet on Monday a spokesperson for Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs referred to a PACE resolution adopted on June 22 that was based on the report of one of its members, Paul Gavan.

“Now clear steps are needed to implement all international calls and decisions,” Ani Badalian wrote, without elaborating. She cited Gavan, an Irish politician, as saying that “what we are witnessing now is a deliberate attempt to ethnically cleanse the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Edmon Marukian, Armenia’s ambassador-at-large, also recently wrote on Twitter that people in Nagorno-Karabakh faint on a daily basis due to malnutrition, publishing a photograph of one such reported incident.

“The leadership of Azerbaijan bears direct responsibility for this and the international community is sharing this responsibility by doing nothing to save people’s lives,” Marukian contended.

Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian leader Arayik Harutiunian on August 6 described the Azerbaijani blockade of access to the region for goods from Armenia as a genocidal policy. He again ruled out the possibility of humanitarian supplies to the region that seeks independence from Baku by Azerbaijan.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for decades. Some 30,000 people were killed in a war in the early 1990s that left ethnic Armenians in control of the predominantly Armenian-populated region and seven adjacent districts of Azerbaijan proper.

Decades of internationally mediated talks failed to result in a diplomatic solution and the simmering conflict led to another war in 2020 in which nearly 7,000 soldiers were killed on both sides.

The 44-day war in which Azerbaijan regained all of the Armenian-controlled areas outside of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as chunks of territory inside the Soviet-era autonomous oblast proper ended with a Russia-brokered ceasefire under which Moscow deployed about 2,000 troops to the region to serve as peacekeepers.

Tensions along the restive Armenian-Azerbaijani border and around Nagorno-Karabakh leading to sporadic fighting and loss of life have persisted despite the ceasefire and publicly stated willingness of the leaders of both countries to work towards a negotiated peace.

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