WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called for the opening of the Lachin corridor connecting Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia when he spoke with a senior Azerbaijani official late on Thursday.
Sullivan had separate phone calls with Hikmet Hajiyev, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s top foreign policy aide, and Armen Grigoryan, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, on the 11th day of the road blockade imposed by Baku.
“Mr. Sullivan noted our ongoing concern over impeded access to the Lachin Corridor and the growing humanitarian implications of this situation, and called for full restoration of free movement through the corridor,” the White House said in a statement
The U.S. State Department has repeatedly voiced such calls since the vital Karabakh road was blocked by Azerbaijani protesters on December 12.
The European Union has also called on Baku to ensure renewed traffic through it. The EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov discussed the matter in a phone call on Thursday.
According to the White House’s readout of Sullivan’s calls, the U.S., Armenian and Azerbaijani officials also “took stock of the progress made in EU and U.S.-facilitated peace talks since their joint September 27 meeting in Washington.”
“All affirmed their commitment to negotiations with the goal of finalizing a peace agreement,” added the statement.
The Lachin Corridor, the only road linking Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia has been blocked by group of Azerbaijanis since December 12. They demand that their government be allowed to inspect “illegal” mining operations in Karabakh.
In the meantime food stores and markets in Nagorno-Karabakh have run out of key foodstuffs imported from or through Armenia.
Nagorno-Karabakh State Minister Ruben Vardanyan said in daily video address that the situation with food supply and gasoline was severe. He told the population to be prepared for a potentially lengthy blockade of the road.