A protest on May 9 in Stepanakert

STEPANAKERT (Azatutyun) — Nagorno-Karabakh’s leadership accused the European Union late on Monday, May 15, of turning a blind eye to Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin corridor when it reacted to European Council President Charles Michel’s remarks made after the latest Armenian-Azerbaijani summit in Brussels.

Michel, who hosted the talks between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, made no mention of the five-month blockade that has caused serious shortages of food and medicine as well as an energy crisis in Karabakh.

Instead, he urged Baku to embark on a dialogue with “Armenians living in the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast” for the purpose of “guaranteeing the rights and security of this population.”

“This fact shows that the president of the European Council not only does not hinder but actually encourages Azerbaijan to use the sufferings of the people of Artsakh as a political tool,” the Karabakh Foreign Ministry charged in a statement.

It said Michel’s remarks also demonstrate that “the EU leadership continues to ignore the legal rights and interests of the people of Artsakh and is guided only by its own geopolitical and short-term interests in the region to the detriment of the values of democracy and human rights proclaimed by the EU.”

The statement added that only international recognition of the Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination can be “the basis for a sustainable settlement of the conflict.”

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The Armenian government stopped championing that right a year ago. Pashinyan subsequently declared that it recognizes Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.

Michel implied after Sunday’s summit that Yerevan is now also ready to recognize Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh. The Armenian opposition expressed serious concern over this declaration, renewing its allegations that Pashinyan is forcing the Karabakh Armenians to live under Azerbaijani rule.

By contrast, the strongly-worded Karabakh statement contained no criticism of Pashinyan.


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