YEREVAN — Azerbaijan continues the illegal blockade of the Lachin corridor in parallel with the negotiations, which openly contradicts the statements made by the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan earlier in Prague and Sochi, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said on Monday.

The Lachin corridor, which is the only road linking Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia has been blockaded by Azerbaijan since last December 2022.

“The Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) blockade has caused a serious humanitarian crisis. It has disrupted the activities of such a reputable international organization as the International Committee of the Red Cross. The blockade is obviously part of Azerbaijani policy of ethnic cleansing,” Mirzoyan said Monday at a joint press briefing with visiting Leo Docherty, U.K.’s Under Secretary of State for Europe.

In this regard, Mirzoyan called on the UN Security Council member states, including Great Britain, to take effective steps, including sending a monitoring mission to the Lachin corridor and Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as press Azerbaijan to return all Armenian prisoners.

At the same time, Mirzoyan noted Yerevan’s commitment to the Almaty Declaration of 1991 and pointed to the willingness to open regional communication based on the principle of mutual sovereignty. All issues, in his opinion, should be solved without any use or threat of using force.

Leo Docherty said that he raised the issue of reopening of the Lachin corridor during his meetings in Baku.

“That was an important element of the visit. We urged the reopening of the Lachin corridor and the free flow of people and goods,” he said during the joint press.

“Of course, our relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan are important, but we’ve always been very clear that the ongoing conflict will not bring about sustainable peace. What we want to see is sustainable peace,” he added.

“The UK wants to see a comprehensive peace settlement reached as soon as possible, and we are encouraged by the recent steps of the EU and US in that direction,” the Minister said.

“The UK-Armenian relationship encompasses a wide range of areas including support to governance and economic reforms, trade, defense, culture and educational links and, of course, support to those affected by the conflict,” Leo Docherty said.

He reiterated the UK’s support to Armenia’s democratic and economic reform agenda.

 

 

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