EU High Representative Josep Borrell

BRUSSELS — Azerbaijan must reopen the Lachin corridor, the European Union said on Wednesday night, expressing serious concern over the worsening humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh.

“The European Union is deeply concerned about the serious humanitarian situation affecting the local population in the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast,” the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said in a statement. “The movement through the Lachin corridor remains obstructed for more than seven months, despite Orders by the International Court of Justice to reopen it.”

“Medical supplies and essential goods are in short supply or have already run out, with dire consequences for the local population. It is incumbent on the Azerbaijani authorities to guarantee safety and freedom of movement along the Lachin corridor imminently and not to permit the crisis to escalate further,” added Borrell.

“We took note of the expressed readiness of the Azerbaijani authorities to also supply goods via the city of Aghdam. This should not be seen as an alternative to the reopening of the Lachin corridor. The EU also notes that ICRC activities in the region have been heavily impacted and calls for their full resumption, including medical evacuations and humanitarian supplies. The EU stresses that humanitarian access must not be politicized by any actors.” Borrell’s statement concluded.

Azerbaijan rejected the statement on Thursday, saying that it is based on “the Armenian side’s false propaganda.” “Presenting legitimate actions of Azerbaijan as a closure of the Lachin road is fundamentally wrong,” said Aykhan Hajizade, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Hajizade insisted on a different, Azerbaijani-controlled supply route for Karabakh proposed by Baku and rejected by Karabakh’s leadership as a cynical ploy designed to facilitate the restoration of Azerbaijani control over the Armenian-populated region.

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