YEREVAN — The Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh should keep the Lachin corridor under control and thereby ensure its normal operation, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at a government session on Thursday.

“Apart from Russia, no one else should exercise control in the Lachin corridor. Azerbaijan should not impede the free movement through the corridor. This is what is stipulated in the Nov. 9, 2020 trilateral (Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani) statement,” he said.

Pashinyan stressed that the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh should be the subject of negotiations between Stepanakert and Baku within an international format.

“Azerbaijan has consistently aggravated the situation in the region, this time by illegally setting up a checkpoint in the Lachin corridor linking Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia. If until now the Lachin corridor has been closed under the pretext of a false environmental action, now it is officially closed by Azerbaijani government,” he said.

The prime minister noted that this provokes not only an escalation of tensions in the region, but also the aggravation of the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh.

“The international community this time gave a clear assessment to the establishment of the Azerbaijani checkpoint in the Lachin corridor. But it is also important to record the real and underlying goals of this and the series of actions that preceded it. The goal is ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. That should be the subject of attention – of our and the international community,” Pashinyan said.

Pashinyan also drew attention to the fact that Azerbaijan’s installation of a checkpoint in the Lachin corridor is a gross violation of Point 6 of the November 9, 2020 trilateral statement.

“From November 9, 2020 until now, Azerbaijan has violated all the points of the trilateral statement. The acknowledgment of all this, however, should lead to concrete conclusions,” he said.

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