YEREVAN — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Friday called for the lifting of Azerbaijan’s current blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh, warning Baku against “nullifying a historic opportunity for establishing peace.”
Speaking about the deepening humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh brought on by the illegal closure by Azerbaijan of the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, Pashinyan stressed that the Armenian-populated region has been deprived of any commercial shipments since last December as well as any humanitarian supplies since the middle of June when Baku tightened its blockade at a checkpoint installed on the road in April.
Pashinyan said that a convoy of about two dozen trucks with about 400 tons of humanitarian supplies, including flour, pasta, cooking oil, sugar, salt, medicines and some other basic products, that the Armenian government sent to Nagorno-Karabakh late last month still remains stranded in Armenia’s Syunik province not far from the Lachin corridor as Azerbaijan refuses to allow its passage.
He said there was no explanation to Azerbaijan’s banning humanitarian supplies to Nagorno-Karabakh “if we do not consider it within the context of Azerbaijan’s open policy of subjecting Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to a genocide.”
“To be more precise, the ban on the entry of humanitarian cargoes to Nagorno-Karabakh makes more trustworthy statements about the policy being carried out by Azerbaijan on subjecting Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians to a genocide,” the Armenian prime minister charged.
Pashinyan said that there is a growing opinion among international experts that “Azerbaijan’s policy on causing a humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh by its illegal blockade of the Lachin corridor can be regarded from the point of view of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of December 9, 1948.”
Pashinyan said that the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh caused by Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin corridor has deepened to the extent that “greater efforts need to be taken in the direction of providing an international legal assessment of the created situation.” He stressed that Azerbaijan continues to fail to comply with the order by the Criminal Court of Justice to restore unimpeded traffic through the Lachin corridor that was first issued in February and then reaffirmed in July.
“The best solution to the current situation is the removal of Azerbaijan’s illegal blockade of the Lachin corridor and the start of a dialogue between Stepanakert and Baku within the framework of an international mechanism,” Pashinyan said.
“The Republic of Armenia, for its part, continues to reaffirm its commitment to the peace agenda and calls on official Baku to refrain from steps nullifying a historic opportunity for establishing peace,” the Armenian premier underscored.