Movement through the Lachin corridor must be reopened immediately – EU

(Armradio) – The European Union is following with great concern the serious humanitarian situation affecting the local population in the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, Silvio Gonzato, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, said at the Security Council meeting on Nagorno Karabakh.

“Movement through the Lachin corridor has been obstructed for more than 8 months, despite Orders by the International Court of Justice to reopen it. Since 15 June, there has been a blockage of the Lachin corridor, with the exception of occasional medical evacuations.  Medical supplies and essential goods are reportedly in critically short supply or have already run out, with dire consequences for the local population,” he said.

“Movement through the Lachin corridor must be reopened immediately. Based on the November 2020 trilateral statement and the February 2023 ICJ order, the Azerbaijani authorities bear the responsibility to guarantee safety and freedom of movement along the Lachin corridor and to ensure the crisis does not escalate further. We have taken note of the expressed readiness of the Azerbaijani authorities to also supply goods via the city of Aghdam. This should however not be seen as an alternative to the reopening of the Lachin corridor,” the envoy noted.

“The population on the ground needs reassurances, first and foremost regarding their rights and security. The EU reiterates its call for direct dialogue between Baku and Karabakh Armenians. This dialogue should build much-needed confidence for all those involved,” Silvio Gonzato stated.

He said the EU has also been following the growing tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the past months along their international border, with shooting incidents reported almost on a daily basis.

“The EU Monitoring Mission in Armenia (EUMA) is conducting patrols along the Armenian side of the international border with Azerbaijan to observe and report on the situation. The objective of the mission is to contribute to conflict resolution and build confidence between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We call on all sides to avoid further incidents and return to dialogue,” the EU representative said.

“The European Union, and in particular President of the European Council Charles Michel, has been heavily engaged in supporting the normalization process between Armenia and Azerbaijan since the end of 2021,” he noted.

“At the last trilateral meeting hosted by President Charles Michel with President Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister Pashinyan of Armenia on 15 July 2023, the leaders of the two countries reiterated their strong commitment to the peace process. They notably reconfirmed their full respect for the other country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and their unequivocal commitment to the 1991 Almaty Declaration as a political framework for the delimitation,” the EU envoy noted.

“As a matter of priority, violence, harsh rhetoric and the spreading of disinformation should stop in order to provide a conducive environment for peace and normalization talks. A return to dialogue in good faith remains as urgent as ever. This requires the genuine commitment of all sides to negotiated outcomes and a future built on common interests and mutual trust. Unfortunately, the current deteriorating humanitarian situation of the Karabakh Armenians is harming the peace process. Humanitarian issues need to be resolved and concrete steps should urgently be taken to build trust,” he stressed.

The diplomat noted that “the European Union remains fully committed to facilitating dialogue between both sides in order to ensure long lasting peace for the benefit of all people of the region.”

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