STEPANAKERT (Azatutyun) — Armenia urged the international community on Thursday, July 19, to put stronger pressure on Azerbaijan to reopen the Lachin corridor, saying that Nagorno-Karabakh’s population is “on the verge of starvation.”
“We are not talking about a looming crisis anymore; we speak about an ongoing humanitarian disaster,” Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan told an emergency session of the Vienna-based Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). “The medieval practices should be stopped. This cannot continue if we are serious about values and principles.
“The international community in general and the OSCE in particular cannot remain silent simply because the lives of 120 thousand people are at stake,” he said.
Armenia initiated the meeting to draw greater international attention to the seven-month blockade of Karabakh’s only land link with the outside world, which has led to severe shortages of food, medicine, fuel and other essential items in the region.
Azerbaijan has also cut off Armenia’s supplies of electricity and natural gas to Karabakh. The humanitarian crisis deteriorated after Baku was blocked on June 15. Relief supplies were carried out, in limited amounts, by Russian peacekeepers and the Red Cross.
“Prior to the blockade, around 90 percent of all consumed food was imported from Armenia, and with every passing day the people of Nagorno-Karabakh do not receive 400 tons of essential goods,” said Mirzoyan. “Furthermore, by using force and the threat of force, Azerbaijan continues to obstruct agricultural activities on approximately 10,000 hectares of land adjacent to the line of contact, which constitutes a significant portion of [Karabakh’s] total cultivated land.”