“The purpose of the “smuggling” charge is to drive the Armenians out of NK.” Opinion from Yerevan
Baku accuses ICRC of smuggling
“Baku is trying to put into practice its idea that Artsakh is part of the territory of Azerbaijan, so each product must go through customs clearance upon importation,” Armenian political scientist Gurgen Simonyan commented on the decision of the Azerbaijani authorities.
The point is that Baku accused the International Committee of the Red Cross of smuggling. This is the only humanitarian organization that transports people in need of specialized medical care from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. The ICRC has been fulfilling this mission since December last year, when the Azerbaijanis blocked the Lachin corridor linking the unrecognized republic with Armenia.
Azerbaijani media circulated a video of mobile phones, cigarettes and gasoline found in a car transporting patients. A criminal case has been initiated, Baku announced that it would “suspend” traffic through the checkpoint until the end of the investigation.
The ICRC, at the time of the publication of the article, stated that no unauthorized items were found in any of the vehicles belonging to the organization:
“We regret that, without our knowledge, four hired drivers tried to transport some commercial goods in their own vehicles, which temporarily bore the ICRC emblem. These individuals were not employees of the ICRC and their employment contracts were terminated immediately.”
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“A gross violation of the laws of Azerbaijan”
The State Border Service of Azerbaijan issued a statement in the morning “on the facts of smuggling through the Lachin border checkpoint on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia.”
It states that there have been “repeated attempts to smuggle various types of contraband in vehicles belonging to the ICRC.” We are talking about mobile phones, their screens and power supplies, as well as cigarettes and gasoline.
“Despite the fact that a warning about this was issued through the official channels of the ICRC, the illegal acts were repeated, and the necessary steps to curb them were not taken,” the Azerbaijani border service said.
Baku has declared the use of vehicles owned by the Red Cross and carrying out medical evacuation “for the purpose of smuggling” a gross violation of the laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan and a breach of Azerbaijan’s trust.
Political scientist Gurgen Simonyan believes that Azerbaijan’s goals are obvious and understandable to everyone:
“In order to understand what is happening, you do not need to be an analyst. Baku wants to aggravate the situation, put people in a hopeless situation, make their life dangerous and unbearable. Such provocative accusations and “revelations” will be constantly in order to ultimately achieve their goal and expel all Armenians from Artsakh,” he told JAMnews.
In his opinion, “until the conflict is resolved, there are no humanitarian guarantees, a peaceful agenda and demilitarized realities, the promotion of such approaches by Baku means the implementation of a policy of genocide.” The political scientist is sure that it is not at all important for Baku by what means it achieves this goal:
“It makes no difference whether the way to achieve the desired is white or red genocide. The main thing is to remove even traces of Armenians. Naturally, not a single patient, seriously ill person can use the links of the Azerbaijani service. And this means that people will be in a hopeless situation.”
He believes that the international community has already reacted to the blockade of the Lachin corridor and the situation created in connection with this in Nagorno-Karabakh. Refers to the decision of the International Court of Justice. However, this legally binding decision to “ensure the uninterrupted movement of people, vehicles and goods along the Lachin Corridor” has not yet been implemented.
According to Simonyan, in such situations, the solution of the issue by military intervention could be considered the most effective. However, “not a single global actor, a country interested in the region, is ready to take on such a mission.” He says that the unblocking of the Lachin corridor is only in the interests of Iran:
“And Iran will abstain, it is under sanctions and is not ready for any military clash, because this will lead to a direct conflict with Turkey.”
Since the Armenian side, according to the political scientist, does not have the opportunity to resolve the issue by military means on its own, it is necessary to use diplomatic methods. However, he warns that “diplomatic and economic methods will mitigate the situation to a certain extent, but will not be able to solve it.”
Simonyan claims that diplomatic pressure is already being exerted on Baku, and “without it, everything in the region would look much more tragic.” It does not exclude economic pressure, up to and including sanctions:
“It will be enough for Europe to boycott the transit of oil and gas raw materials through Azerbaijan’s pipelines. There are such prerequisites, because European countries have significantly reduced their dependence on oil and gas resources after the military intervention in Ukraine.”
The political scientist proposes to take into account the factor of development of alternative energy systems and the fact that for the European market the volume of Azerbaijani supplies is a small percentage. According to him, Azerbaijan’s capabilities “can satisfy the Balkans, Italy and a couple of other countries.”
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Baku accuses ICRC of smuggling