The High Representative of the European Union for foreign relations and security policy, Josep Borrell, has voiced concern over the humanitarian situation in the contested region of Karabakh.
In a statement issued today, Borrell highlighted the closure of the Lachin corridor for over seven months, despite the decisions made by the International Court of Justice. The corridor’s closure has resulted in a shortage of essential medical and humanitarian supplies, putting the lives of many at risk.
Borrell stressed the urgency of the situation and called upon the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure the safety and freedom of movement through the Lachin corridor. He emphasized that the crisis should not escalate further and urged for the complete restoration of the activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the region. This includes facilitating medical evacuations and humanitarian aid deliveries to those in need.
In response to Borrell’s statement, Aykhan Hajizade, the Press Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, contested Armenia’s use of the Lachin road for alleged “illegal activities”.
Regarding the ICRC’s operations in the region, Hajizade acknowledged the cooperation with the organization and the passage of Armenian residents for medical purposes. He proposed using alternative routes like Aghdam-Khankendi for the delivery of larger humanitarian loads to Azerbaijan.
As ICRC’s trucks are not being let through the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijani forces, humanitarian aid from Armenia has reached the border village of Kornidzor in Azerbaijan, amounting to 400 tons of food and necessary goods. Vardan Sargsyan, the representative of the working group on the management of the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, stated that they had reached out to the Russian peacekeeping forces to facilitate the delivery of goods to the region.
Amidst these developments, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan accused Armenia of preparing provocations at the Lachin checkpoint, as the sending of car convoys labeled as humanitarian cargo without prior agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan was considered by him “an attack on Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty”.
The situation remains complex and contentious, with both sides expressing differing views and actions regarding the humanitarian situation and the usage of specific corridors for aid delivery. The involvement of international entities, including the European Union and the ICRC, continues to be crucial in finding a resolution to the ongoing crisis.