17 Jan 2023 21:16

International mission should be sent to Lachin Corridor, Nagorno-Karabakh - Armenian FM

YEREVAN. Jan 17 (Interfax) - Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said an international mission should be sent to the Lachin Corridor, currently being blocked by Azerbaijan, to evaluate the situation on the ground.

"It is extremely important to send an international fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin Corridor to assess the humanitarian situation on the ground as well as ensure unhindered humanitarian access to Nagorno-Karabakh for relevant United Nations bodies," Mirzoyan said at a special meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Permanent Council initiated by Armenia on Tuesday.

"Today, by blocking the Lachin Corridor, the Azerbaijani side has brought about a humanitarian crisis with far-reaching goals. On December 12, 2022, a group of Azerbaijani citizens calling themselves environmental activists blocked the Lachin Corridor, the only road linking Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and the rest of the world, thus actually isolating 120,000 people, of which 30,000 are children, in Nagorno-Karabakh," Mirzoyan said.

He added that the issue was discussed at the UN Security Council at Armenia's request.

"We informed the members of the Security Council, as well as the secretary general of the severe situation and called on our partners to intervene and stop the unfolding humanitarian disaster," he said.

"I believe that we must increase our pressure on Azerbaijan so that it fulfills its obligations. Azerbaijan must face the consequences of its actions," Mirzoyan said.

For decades, the OSCE has been elaborating a set of tools or instruments aimed at the early warning and prevention of conflicts, he said. "Unfortunately, [...] the OSCE has failed to apply these tools in an effective and timely manner. Moreover, the lack of an appropriate and tough response has resulted in impunity for the use of force as a means of conflict resolution in violation of OSCE principles, commitments enshrined in its fundamental documents, which has resulted in legitimizing violence in inter-state and intra-state relations," he said.

He added that after signing the trilateral statement on the cessation of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh on November 9, 2020, Armenia made every effort to normalize relations with Azerbaijan and resolve the rights and security issues of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Immediately after the signing of the trilateral statement, the Azerbaijani side breached its commitment to completely cease fire and all military actions and launched an attack on Nagorno-Karabakh, which resulted in the seizure of two more villages and the capture of Armenian servicemen," he said.

Mirzoyan added that in May and November 2021, as well as last September, the Azerbaijani side launched an aggression against Armenia, occupying about 150 square kilometers of the country's sovereign territory.