Concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh have taken centre stage as the United States called on Azerbaijan to reopen the Lachin Corridor, the mountain road that links Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Being the only road between these two territories, the Lachin Corridor is considered a “lifeline” to the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, as a crucial access route for humanitarian aid and essential goods.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Representative to the United Nations, made the plea during a UN Security Council meeting addressing the dire situation in the region.
“We are deeply troubled by the closure of the Lachin Corridor, which has cut off access to essential goods and exacerbated the humanitarian situation. Access to food, medicine, baby formula, and energy should never be held hostage,” stated Thomas-Greenfield, stressing the urgency of the situation.
Highlighting the importance of the Lachin Corridor, the ambassador urged Azerbaijan to restore unrestricted movement through the corridor. This appeal encompasses commercial, humanitarian, and private vehicles, ensuring that the population of Nagorno-Karabakh receives necessary provisions. She further acknowledged the potential for alternative routes to facilitate humanitarian deliveries.
In her address, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield also stressed the significance of continuing peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan for a lasting resolution to the conflict.
Urging compliance with international humanitarian law, the ambassador called for unwavering engagement from the international community to facilitate diplomatic discussions and a sustainable, dignified peace. She advocated for negotiations as the cornerstone of lasting peace and affirmed support for a dialogue between officials in Baku and representatives of the Nagorno-Karabakh population.
After the 2020 Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, which unfolded within the contested confines of Nagorno-Karabakh and its neighbouring territories, Azerbaijan undertook a significant move in December 2022. This involved the imposition of a blockade on the Republic of Artsakh, thereby isolating approximately 120,000 ethnic Armenians residing in the region from external interactions due to the strategic obstruction of the Lachin Corridor.
Turkey, a staunch supporter of Azerbaijan throughout the aforementioned armed conflict, has stood firm in disregarding pleas for the Lachin Corridor‘s restoration. In a statement issued on Monday, the foreign ministry of Turkey articulated its position, underscoring its understanding of Azerbaijan’s substantiated concerns on this matter.
“Unfortunately, these concerns that Azerbaijan has voiced loudly for a long time were not taken into account, and as a result, Azerbaijan took the measures it deems appropriate within the framework of its sovereign rights,” the ministry said.