13 Jan 2023 13:52

Paris to work on prevention of humanitarian catastrophe in Nagorno-Karabakh - French parliament speaker

YEREVAN. Jan 13 (Interfax) - French National Assembly President Yael Braun-Pivet has noted the need for resuming dialogue between all parties to find a peaceful, enduring solution to the problem of the blocked Lachin corridor.

"We are very much concerned about the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. We are concerned because the ongoing blockade of the Lachin corridor exacerbates the humanitarian situation. It is important that all interested parties resume dialogue in order to end the crisis," Braun-Pivet said at a joint press conference with Armenian Parliament Speaker Alen Simonyan on Friday.

A meeting with "representatives of several non-governmental organizations working with the blockade victims" is scheduled to take place on Saturday, she said.

"We will do everything we can to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe," Braun-Pivet said.

She also expressed concern about the endangered historical and cultural heritage that might be destroyed in Nagorno-Karabakh and said that both France and UNESCO would take joint efforts to prevent that from happening.

The only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, the Stepanakert-Goris highway (Lachin corridor), has been blocked since December 12.

Braun-Pivet said she was hoping that another observation mission would be deployed on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, which would require consent of all sides.

Speaking of the deployment of observers in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Lachin corridor, instead of the border, Simonyan said that "would also require consent of Azerbaijan, the consent of all parties would be necessary."

Armenia needs France as an intermediary rather than a side, Simonyan said. "France is doing the utmost to ensure peace in the region, however, we need France as an intermediary, not a side," he said.

The mandate of the EU Monitoring Mission to Armenia, established in October, expired on December 19. The mission was deployed on October 20 in Armenia on the border with Azerbaijan with the consent of the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, France and the European Council head to monitor and analyze the Armenian-Azerbaijani border situation.

It was reported on January 9 that an EU technical assessment group led by Marcin Vydra had arrived in Yerevan to explore the possibility of deployment of a new civilian mission on the border with Azerbaijan.