The Russian Kommersant newspaper in an article titled “Artsakh vs. Karabakh”, citing an unnamed source in Russian state structures, has informed about a proposal from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to first open the road through Aghdam and then resume the movement through the Lachin Corridor. What is the position of Artsakh on this issue?
The Republic of Artsakh has consistently maintained a principled stance in addressing the acute humanitarian crisis stemming from the unlawful blockade of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan. This stance is firmly grounded in both the provisions outlined in the Trilateral Statement of 9 November 2020, specifically Article 6 of which clearly defines the operational parameters and regime of the Lachin Corridor, as well as the principles of international humanitarian law.
It should be noted that any initiatives which seek to link the use of the Lachin Corridor, and that in a restricted manner, with unrelated matters or alternative routes, including through Aghdam, are essentially attempts to legitimise Azerbaijan’s breach of its international commitments concerning the Lachin Corridor and to call into question the Trilateral Statement signed by their country’s president on 9 November 2020. This approach, put forward by Azerbaijan, intentionally infringes upon the rights and dignity of the people of Artsakh and stands in contradiction to the norms of international humanitarian law and human rights law.
We reiterate that the proposal regarding the use of alternative transportation routes is part of Azerbaijan’s policy aimed at exploiting the humanitarian catastrophe it has created and the threat of hunger as a weapon and a means to forcefully subjugate Artsakh and its people.
It should be also noted that the proposal from the Azerbaijani side essentially aims to restrict the use of the Lachin Corridor solely for the evacuation of patients in need of medical treatment in Armenia, and possibly for extremely limited imports from Armenia into Artsakh, subject to approval from Baku. By refusing to fully ensure safe and unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin Corridor in both directions and proposing alternative routes, the Azerbaijani authorities consistently attempt to sever the deep-rooted ties between the people of Artsakh and Armenia, with the intention of depriving them of their identity, self-sufficiency, and developmental opportunities. This initiative also seeks to undermine the concept of the Lachin Corridor, a key element of a comprehensive, fair and dignified conflict resolution.
It’s worth highlighting that neither the provisions of the Trilateral Statement of 9 November 2020, nor the decisions of the International Court of Justice dated 22 February and 6 July 2023, envision any Azerbaijani presence in the Lachin Corridor or any limitations on the movement of persons, vehicles and cargo in both directions. It is noteworthy that on 28 February 2023, while in Baku, the Russian Foreign Minister confirmed that the establishment of checkpoints in the Lachin Corridor was not envisaged by the Trilateral Statement.