NewsEuropeHumanitarian aid arrives in Nagorno Karabakh in the hope of lowering tension...

    Humanitarian aid arrives in Nagorno Karabakh in the hope of lowering tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan

    The enclave has been in a critical situation for months due to a blockade perpetrated by Azerbaijani troops on its access roads. Baku controls the surrounding regions since its victory over Armenia in the 2020 war and clashes and military tension have been constant since then.

    5 min

    It could be a first step toward easing rising tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh. Humanitarian aid arrived on Monday, September 18 in this region in dispute with Armeniainternationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but populated mostly by Armenians.

    Self-proclaimed independent republic in 1991 at the time of the dislocation of the Soviet bloc, Nagorno Karabakh, a narrow and mountainous territory of about 4,400 square kilometers, crystallizes tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia. A territorial conflict that has already caused two wars between the two neighboring Caucasian countries in the last thirty years.

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    23 tons of wheat flour and essential medicines

    Vehicles loaded with food and essential medicines entered the region, after an agreement was established between Armenians residing in Nagorno Karabakh and the Azerbaijani authorities.

    “The simultaneous passage of Red Cross vehicles was guaranteed” towards Nagorno Karabakh, declared Hikmet Hajiev, advisor to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev, on Monday. The humanitarian convoy passed through the Aghdam route, which links Nagorno-Karabakh with territory controlled by the Azerbaijani government to the northeast and the Lachin corridor, the only one that connects the enclave with Armenia.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed in a statement that, thanks to “a humanitarian consensus among those responsible,” the ICRC is “transporting wheat flour and essential medical products” to Nagorno-Karabakh through these two routes. Ariane Bauer, ICRC regional director for Europe and Central Asia, also said:

    “We are greatly relieved that many people who depend on humanitarian aid will finally receive the support they so desperately need in the coming days.”

    The authorities of Nagorno Karabakh, for their part, stated that 23 tons of wheat flour and medical products had been transported to their territory, through these two routes. Ariane Bauer specified that she hoped that the aid convoys would continue “not only today, but in the coming weeks, so that we can regularly deliver aid to those who need it.”

    The blockade of the Lachin corridor generated a humanitarian crisis in Nagorno Karabakh

    The territorial conflict over Nagorno Karabakh generated a war between neighboring countries in September 2020. After two months of war, Azerbaijani forces won, forcing Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian to sign an agreement to end the fighting on November 10, 2020.

    Under the agreement, Azerbaijan retains the conquered territories in Nagorno-Karabakh and should regain control of the seven Azerbaijani districts surrounding this region upon the withdrawal of the Armenian army. The agreement also provided for access for Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh, through the Lachin corridor.

    Activists block a road from Stepanakert, capital of the self-proclaimed Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh, to the Azerbaijani Aghdam, offered by the Azerbaijani authorities as a route for humanitarian aid to the region to demand the reopening of the blocked Lachin corridor, which links Karabakh with Armenia, and to denounce the crisis conditions in the region, in Askeran, on July 18, 2023. (Photo by Ani BALAYAN / AFP) © ANI BALAYAN / AFP

    However, This same corridor has been blocked by Azerbaijan since December 2022. Baku demands the opening of all roads blocked by Armenians. Among them, those that link Azerbaijan with Nagorno Karabakh and also the one that unites Azerbaijan with the enclave of Nakhichevan, between Armenia and Iran.

    In addition to fueling fear about the likelihood of a new conflict between Baku and Yerevan, The Azerbaijani blockade generated a humanitarian crisis in the enclave. Its 120,000 inhabitants are trapped in an increasingly precarious situation. According to Olivier Decottignies, French ambassador to Armenia, The inhabitants of Nagorno Karabakh lack all basic goods and services and the arrival of humanitarian aid was urgent.

    “Hunger is the invisible weapon of genocide

    Over the past few months, the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities have made several calls to the international community to implement concrete sanction measures against Azerbaijan. In his latest statement, the president of the enclave Arayik Harutyunyan turned to different international actors such as the European Union, the OSCE Minsk Group or the UN Security Council with expressed requests to avoid the isolation of the Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh.

    Nagorno-Karabakh President Arayik Harutyunyan poses for a photo before attending a press conference in Paris, December 7, 2022. (Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP)

    Nagorno-Karabakh President Arayik Harutyunyan poses for a photo before attending a press conference in Paris, December 7, 2022. (Photo by Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP) © EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP

    Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has also been criticizing Russian soldiers, deployed there since late 2020, for months for failing to fulfill their obligations by not guaranteeing access to the Lachin corridor.

    For his part, the former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno Ocampo, described “genocide” the blockade of the Lachin Corridor by Baku, on August 14:

    “Hunger is the invisible weapon of genocide. Without immediate dramatic change, this group of Armenians will be destroyed within a few weeks.”

    Baku sees the blockade of the Lachin corridor as a way to put pressure on the neighboring country, thereby has not signed a peace treaty, despite the efforts made by the European Union, Russia and the United States. Baku and Yerevan agreed in May to mutually recognize each other’s territories, but the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians ultimately blocked negotiations.

    For Azerbaijan, granting the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh a measure of autonomy is not an option. “Either they live under the flag of Azerbaijan or they leave”Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev expressed on several occasions.

    The United States and the European Union still hope that a comprehensive peace agreement will be signed between the two countries before the end of 2023.

    With AFP, Reuters and local media

    Source: France 24

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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