Details from meeting of UN Security Council on Lachin corridor
UN Security Council on Lachin corridor
The blockade of the Lachin corridor was discussed by the UN Security Council but no resolution was adopted following the meeting. All members of the Security Council who spoke called on Baku to ensure free and safe movement along the Lachin corridor. Moreover, the representative from Ireland called on Azerbaijan to unblock the Lachin corridor “without preconditions.”
Armenian politicians approved of the very fact of the meeting being held. The discussion indicates “an international consensus on the immediate and unconditional unblocking of the Lachin corridor,” Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said.
However, one should not expect concrete actions from the body, “whose helplessness became especially obvious during the days of the Ukrainian war,” political scientist Suren Surenyants believes.
For ten days now Azerbaijanis have blocked the Lachin corridor, the only road linking Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, allegedly “for environmental reasons.” As a result 120,000 people, of whom 30,000 are children, are under blockade and on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. Every day 400 tons of food and medicine came here from Armenia, now impossible after the blockade. Food, medicine and fuel are running out.
More than twenty patients with serious problems need immediate transportation to Armenia for qualified medical care. One of them managed to be transported to Yerevan through the mediation of the Red Cross, while one seriously ill patient died.
“The goal is to cause a massive humanitarian crisis”
The blockade of the Lachin corridor is “an operation planned in advance by the Azerbaijani authorities” with the aim of causing a large-scale humanitarian crisis, Mher Margaryan, Permanent Representative of Armenia to the UN, said during the meeting:
“The alarming situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is close to becoming a humanitarian catastrophe. Despite the efforts of the peacekeeping contingent, negotiations between the authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijani side on restoring safe and uninterrupted communication along the corridor have not yielded any results to date.”
Concern for the environment, he says, is a pretense:
“This is also evidenced by the fact that “Azerbaijan has one of the lowest ratings for democracy, which is confirmed by the history of the suppression of protests, the punishment of dozens of political prisoners. […] If Azerbaijan is interested in an independent assessment of the environmental situation, then the possibility of sending a UN fact-finding mission to study the issue should be considered.”
Margaryan also spoke of signs of a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing. He said that the involvement of the international community is the only possible way to guarantee the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia called on the UN Security Council to:
- “demand Azerbaijan fully comply with the provisions of the tripartite statement of November 9, 2020 and immediately and unconditionally unblock the Lachin corridor, removing all obstacles to safe, reliable and free transport links;
- deploy a fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin corridor to assess the humanitarian situation on the ground;
- ensure unhindered humanitarian access to Nagorno-Karabakh for the relevant UN bodies.”
Azerbaijan’s representative to the UN Yashar Aliyev said in response that the region called Nagorno-Karabakh does not exist, and no one is blocking the road through Lachin. According to him, Baku has already managed to establish direct contacts with local Armenians. As a successful example, the Azerbaijani diplomat cited the construction of a new Lachin road and a visit by Azerbaijani specialists to the Sarsang reservoir.
Statement by the representative of Russia and its assessment in Armenia
“We expect that a full transport connection will be restored in the near future,” Anna Evstigneeva, Deputy Representative of Russia to the UN, stated.
She said that the ministries of defense and foreign affairs of the Russian Federation, as well as the command of the Russian peacekeeping troops, are making “all necessary efforts” to resolve the situation as soon as possible, including organizing “regular contacts” between Armenian and Azerbaijani colleagues.
As a result of these efforts gas supply has been restored, “traffic along the Lachin corridor was partially unblocked”, and “parameters for visits by Azerbaijani ecologists to mineral deposits in Nagorno-Karabakh” are being agreed upon.
Speaker of the Armenian Parliament Alen Simonyan disagreed with the Russian diplomat’s speech:
“I believe that a more targeted statement could have been made by our ally, which was made by countries that do not have close ties with Armenia at all. I think that the Russian Federation either cannot, or does not want, or at the same time cannot and does not want to. I am not surprised; recent events have shown that there would be such a reaction from the Russian Federation.”
“Discussion at the UN level was important”
The Armenian authorities approved of the Security Council meeting. According to the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Ruben Rubinyan, the meeting was successful and “the need to end the illegal blockade” of the Lachin corridor was set down.
“At the beginning of the meeting, it was said that there is a draft press release that needs to be discussed. According to my information, this document is currently under discussion; let’s see what the results will be,” he said.
According to another vice-speaker, Hakob Arshakyan, the fact that “influential members of the Security Council called for the immediate unblocking of the Lachin corridor” is also positive.
When asked by journalists what can be expected, Arshakyan replied that the UN Security Council can adopt a resolution and apply various types of political mechanisms.
“We must do everything to ensure that these tools are fully applied,” he said.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission on European Integration Arman Yeghoyan stressed the importance of the discussion being held at an international level. He believes that speeches made in the UN Security Council will have an impact on the situation:
“Given the ratio of speeches, there is a possibility that the road will be opened.”
According to Yegoyan, there are two possibilities for unblocking the road: fulfill the demands of those who closed it, or show them that the fulfillment of these requirements is impossible. He says Armenia should go the second way.
Political scientist Suren Surenyants is surprised by “attempts to idealize” the meeting of the UN Security Council. According to him, it is good that all members of the council called for the immediate unblocking of the Lachin corridor, and that “all speakers used the name Nagorno-Karabakh.”
“On the other hand, I am surprised by the attempts to fetishize, present the meeting as a “victory” of Armenian diplomacy. The UN Security Council did not adopt a resolution and did not even hint at the imposition of sanctions against Azerbaijan,” Surenyants wrote on Telegram.
According to Surenyants, before expecting anything from the UN one should take into account the keyphrase in the statement of the deputy secretary general of the organization, Miroslav Jenchi, that “the UN is not present in the Lachin corridor or the territory under the responsibility of Russian peacekeepers.”
“The international system and its main instrument in the form of the United Nations are in crisis, and one should not expect effective steps from a structure whose helplessness became especially obvious during the days of the Ukrainian war,” he stated.
UN Security Council on Lachin corridor