"Baku's stance on Lachin corridor is blackmail" Opinion from Yerevan
Yerevan, Baku, and the Lachin corridor
For the third day in a row Yerevan and Baku are exchanging statements about the Lachin corridor, that is, the road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia. The topic was raised by the head of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, who said that Armenia uses it “to send weapons to Karabakh.” The Ambassador-at-Large of Armenia, Edmon Marukyan, believes that Azerbaijan is trying to create “false grounds for challenging the issue of the Lachin corridor.”
Military expert Karen Hovhannisyan believes that Azerbaijan is trying to solve several problems at once, including achieving the desired “Zangezur corridor”, a road that would connect the country with its exclave of Nakhichevan through the Armenian city of Meghri. The Armenian authorities say they are ready to provide roads, but not a “corridor”, which means a loss of sovereignty over territory.
Statements from Azerbaijan, Armenia’s reaction, and an expert’s commentary.
Bayramov: “The corridor is not being used for its intended purpose”
According to the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, Armenia uses the corridor to “send weapons to Karabakh, which is contrary to the agreements reached earlier.”
“This must end. Azerbaijan will take the necessary steps for this,” Bayramov stressed.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Minister said that mines “placed in Karabakh in 2021” were delivered through the Lachin corridor.
Earlier the Azerbaijani authorities announced that mines allegedly recently laid by Armenian “sabotage groups” had been found in the area of Saribaba.
“Armenia violates the fundamental principles of the tripartite statement and does not fulfill the obligation to withdraw all Armenian military formations from the territory of Azerbaijan,” the Azerbaijani minister announced.
This statement has recently been heard more and more often from Azerbaijan. The Armenian authorities have repeatedly responded to this accusation that there are no Armenian soldiers n Nagorno-Karabakh, and the NK Defense Army is “a guarantee of protection of the Armenians living there from the threat of genocide.”
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“Azerbaijan wants to create false grounds for challenging the Lachin corridor.” Marukyan
According to the Ambassador-at-Large of Armenia, Azerbaijan’s assertion that Armenia used the Lachin corridor to transport mines to the territory of Karabakh is “an absolute lie.”
“Azerbaijan removed mines from the occupied territories of Armenia, moved them to the territories controlled by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh in order to show international partners and create false grounds for challenging the Lachin corridor,” Marukyan wrote on Twitter.
In his next tweet he explained exactly how, in his opinion, this happened.
Marukyan maintained that Saribaba (the area near the village of Yeghtsaogh, Shushi region), which is mentioned in the statement from Baku, came under the control of Azerbaijan in August this year.
In his opinion, Azerbaijan transferred mines to Nagorno-Karabakh after the “September aggression” against Armenia:
“In September, they invaded Jermuk [a city in the southern Syunik region of Armenia], the sovereign territory of Armenia, gained access to mines, moved to Saribaba to falsely accuse Armenia of using the Lachin corridor for the transfer of ammunition,” Marukyan tweeted.
According to military expert Karen Hovhannisyan, Baku’s statements about the Lachin corridor are nothing but blackmail.
“Using this lever, Azerbaijan is trying to put pressure on the Armenian government, to blackmail it. ‘If you do not fulfill my demands, I can liquidate the Lachin corridor under this pretext’,” he told JAMnews.
Hovhannisyan believes that by putting pressure on Armenia, Baku is pursuing a number of goals, including obtaining the so-called “Zangezur corridor”, and thus solves several problems at once:
- “to show that the Russian peacekeeping forces are not in control of the situation, these are not the forces that can control the Lachin corridor, and thus blackmail not only Armenia, but also Russia,
- create a path to Nakhichevan through the territory of Armenia and with a certain status,
- introduce certain restrictions on the passage of vehicles along the Lachin corridor.”
According to Hovhannisyan, Aliyev is simultaneously trying to justify the fact that a peace agreement with Armenia will not be signed before the end of the year, referring to “still unresolved issues.”
Returning to the issue of possible developments around the Lachin corridor, Hovhannisyan suggested that Azerbaijan could ban the movement of trucks.
“They may say in Baku that they do not consider it expedient, because trucks can transport, for example, weapons and ammunition. It is clear that if the movement of trucks is banned, communication with Artsakh will be cut off,” he said.
Hovhannisyan believes that in the current situation, Armenia has only one thing left to do: to present the real situation to the international community, “to openly declare the true goals of Azerbaijan.”
Yerevan, Baku, and the Lachin corridor