“The silence of friendly countries seems strange” - Pashinyan on situation in Lachin
Pashinyan on Lachin corridor closure
“I must say that the silence of a number of friendly countries on this matter is at least strange,” the Prime Minister of Armenia commented regarding the Lachin corridor closure. He then immediately thanked all the countries and international organizations that have responded to the crisis situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.
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For the fourth day now successive groups of Azerbaijanis have been blocking the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia. These groups claim it is for “for environmental reasons.” On the evening of December 13 the gas supply was also stopped, as a result of which hospitals and schools have been closed.
The 120,000 Armenians of NK are under blockade, on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. It is reported that food and medicine will last only a few days. 1,100 people, of whom 270 are children, have been deprived of the opportunity to return home. There are five seriously ill patients in NK hospitals who need specialized medical care in Yerevan, but for the time being it is not possible to transport them. Minister of Health Anahit Avanesyan appealed to the World Health Organization.
In order to “ensure the normal life of the population of Artsakh and prevent possible threats,” NK declared de facto martial law.
“Armenia is ready to open roads at any time”
The prime minister raised the issue of the so-called “Zangezur corridor”, which Azerbaijan demands, equating it with the Lachin corridor.
Pashinyan again stated that Armenia is ready to unblock economic and transport routes in the region, but that the statement of November 9, 2020, which ended the war in Karabakh, does not provide for “limiting the sovereignty of Armenia.” The term “corridor” implies a loss of control in this territory, and the Armenian authorities have categorically rejected this more than once.
The prime minister emphasized that Baku constantly and grossly violates paragraph 9 of the tripartite statement, arguing that Armenia “should provide a corridor”:
“I have said many times that this document does not provide for the existence of any corridor through the territory of Armenia. This is not provided for by any document signed by the Republic of Armenia. And the statements that Armenia made such a verbal promise to anyone are absurd and even ignorant.”
According to him, Armenia is “ready at any moment” to open roads, build and operate new ones, but “all processes must be organized in accordance with the country’s legislation.”
“The humanitarian situation in NK has become extremely aggravated”
The prime minister recalled that Azerbaijan not only blocked the Lachin corridor, but also closed the gas pipeline supplying Nagorno-Karabakh with natural gas. As a result, people have lost the opportunity to heat their homes in winter. He also spoke of problems with nutrition, health care, education:
“This crisis arose as a result of Azerbaijan’s failure to fulfill its international obligations. The blocking of the Lachin corridor is a direct and flagrant violation by Azerbaijan of the tripartite statement of November 9, 2020.”
Pashinyan read out the 6th paragraph of the document, which reads:
- “The Lachin corridor remains under the control of the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation,
- The Republic of Azerbaijan guarantees the safety of movement of citizens, vehicles and goods along the Lachin corridor in both directions.”
According to Pashinyan, Azerbaijan seeks to subject the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to genocide or expulsion from their homeland, pursuing a policy of “NKR without Armenians.”
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“The statement of the parliament must be conveyed to the addressees”
Commenting on the statement adopted the day before by the Armenian parliament, the prime minister noted that he fully supports it, and in the current situation it is necessary to “launch or restart international mechanisms for ensuring the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh”:
“The National Assembly called on the UN Security Council, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and Member States to send a fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh to monitor the humanitarian situation.”
He instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “to convey the Parliament’s statement to the addressees.”
“Azerbaijan’s violations of the November 9 statement are continuous”
Pashinyan listed “the occupation of the villages of In Tager and Khtsaberd of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan, the invasion of the zone of responsibility of Russian peacekeepers in the area of the village of Parukh, the occupation of the territories of Armenia on May 11, 2021, November 14, 2021 and September 13, 2022, as well as daily violations of the ceasefire regime.”
According to him, the first paragraph of the statement according to which all hostilities in the conflict zone must be stopped, as well as the third paragraph that “a line of contact is being formed in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is under the responsibility of Russian peacekeeping forces,” are being violated.
The Prime Minister emphasized that the eighth point, according to which the exchange of all prisoners of war was to take place, has also been flagrantly violated:
“Azerbaijan is still holding and refusing to return to Armenia at least 33 prisoners, hostages and other detainees.”
He “the constant statements of Azerbaijan that Nagorno-Karabakh does not exist” to be another violation. And he idicates a violation of the seventh paragraph of the statement, according to which internally displaced persons and refugees must be returned to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territories.
“Saying that Nagorno-Karabakh does not exist, rejecting the existence of such a territorial unit, Azerbaijan in fact declares that the refugees have nowhere to return, which is a gross violation of not only a tripartite statement, but also humanitarian law,” the Armenian prime minister maintained.
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Pashinyan on Lachin corridor closure