KORNIDZOR – On Wednesday, Azerbaijan refused to allow a convoy of trucks to deliver emergency food aid, provided by Armenia, to Nagorno-Karabakh through the Lachin corridor. Baku had blocked the corridor for over seven months.
The Armenian government announced on Tuesday its intention to send 360 tons of flour, cooking oil, sugar, and other basic foodstuffs to Karabakh to alleviate severe food shortages caused by the blockade. Government officials expressed hope that Russian peacekeepers would escort the relief supplies to the Armenian-populated region.
Nineteen Armenian trucks, carrying the aid, reached the entrance to the Lachin corridor late in the afternoon but remained stranded there for several hours. Baku refused to let them pass through an Azerbaijani checkpoint, which had been controversially set up there in April.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry condemned the aid convoy as a “provocation” and an “encroachment” on Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. A senior aide to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Hikmet Hajyev, demanded that Yerevan renounce “territorial claims” to his country and stop impeding the restoration of Azerbaijani control over Karabakh. Hajiyev insisted that basic necessities for Karabakh should be supplied from Azerbaijan proper, especially from the town of Aghdam. He stated on Twitter, “There is no other way!”
In response to Hajiyev’s tweet, Ambassador-at-large Edmon Marukyan criticized the statement, stating that it does not befit a diplomat. He emphasized that the lives of one hundred thousand people should not be treated as a matter of a game for Azerbaijan, urging the international community to observe the situation.
Regarding Hajiyev’s stance on “reintegration,” Marukyan pointed out that Azerbaijan has the opportunity to initiate negotiations with Nagorno-Karabakh and discuss the matter. He emphasized the importance of negotiations between Azerbaijan and representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh to decide their own future. Marukyan asserted that issues related to rights and security must be addressed within the framework of Nagorno-Karabakh-Azerbaijan negotiations. He advised Azerbaijan to engage in negotiations rather than using Twitter as a platform for such discussions.
Marukyan also rejected Azeri accusations that Armenia’s attempt to send a humanitarian convoy to Nagorno-Karabakh is a “provocation.” He defended the initiative, stating that it aims to save people from starvation. He pointed out that Azerbaijan’s actions, including blockading people, cutting off gas and electricity supply, and blocking external connections, constitute provocation. Marukyan asserted that the real provocation is when Azerbaijan threatens people with genocide and ethnic cleansing, leaving thousands of starving people in dire conditions.
The ambassador-at-large clarified that Armenia had explicitly announced that the humanitarian convoy would not approach the Hakari Bridge. Instead, it would reach the state border of Armenia and transfer the cargo to the Russian peacekeepers, who would then deliver it to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Marukyan expressed concern that Azerbaijan’s actions represent a mass violation of international humanitarian law, and the crisis is worsening day by day. Nevertheless, he remained hopeful that they would succeed in delivering the goods to the Russian peacekeepers, who would then ensure its delivery to Nagorno-Karabakh.