NEW YORK (Combined Sources) — The Armenian government downplayed on August 21 the United Nations Security Council’s failure to formally demand an end to Azerbaijan’s blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of an emergency meeting held last week.

Armenia had initiated the session on August 16 in a bid to drum up stronger international pressure on Baku. Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan attended the session and addressed it, saying that Yerevan expects the Security Council to condemn Baku, demand the immediate reopening of the Lachin corridor, send a fact-finding mission to Karabakh and provide humanitarian aid to the region’s struggling population.

Although most of its members, notably the United States and Russia, urged the lifting of the Azerbaijani blockade, the Council stopped short of adopting a relevant resolution or statement. This fact led some in Armenia to question the wisdom of initiating the meeting and sending Mirzoyan to New York.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry countered that the format of the meeting did not “presuppose the adoption” of any such document.

Ararat Mirzoyan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia, said that according to the trilateral statement, the Lachin Corridor shall remain under the control of the Russian Federation peacemaking forces. Yet in 2022, Azerbaijan blocked the Corridor under a fake pretext of environmental concerns. As a result, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh no longer receive 400 tons of essential goods daily. Condemning the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare and warning against the “ethnic cleansing of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh,” he called for the immediate restoration of freedom of movement of persons, vehicles and cargo through the Corridor.

Rejecting such “groundless” allegations, Azerbaijan’s representative said Armenia is presenting as a humanitarian matter a provocative political campaign to undermine his country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Moreover, the recent decision by the International Court of Justice to reject Armenia’s request for an interim measure of the checkpoint’s removal dismissed that country’s allegations that the Lachin checkpoint is illegal. Immediately after the end of the war in 2020, Azerbaijan offered logistics and infrastructure to ICRC for the delivery of goods to the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. However, the Armenian side rejected and prevented the ICRC from delivering humanitarian assistance, he recalled.

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“Besides, only the 15 (permanent and non-permanent) members of the UN Security Council have the right to draft UN Security Council resolutions and initiate voting. Armenia, not being a member of the UN Security Council, does not have such authority,” the ministry spokeswoman, Ani Badalyan, said in written comments to the press.

Edem Wosornu, Director of Operations and Advocacy, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said in a statement she has been unable to transport humanitarian assistance through the Lachin Corridor or other routes to the civilian population in the area where Russian peacekeepers were deployed for several weeks. Citing international humanitarian law that States parties must allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of such aid for all civilians in need, she stressed it was critical that ICRC’s delivery of humanitarian relief be allowed to resume through any available routes.

She also underlined that it is incumbent on the parties not to impede or politicize any principled humanitarian effort, noting that the Office will continue to engage with the parties on humanitarian access to meet the essential needs of civilians. The United Nations country teams in both Armenia and Azerbaijan are also maintaining open channels with the authorities in those countries to ensure a response to humanitarian needs, she reported.

In the ensuing debate, many speakers encouraged both parties to respect the commitments made under the 2020 trilateral agreement between Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation, normalize relations to lay the foundation for a future peace treaty and ensure that humanitarian aid and food be allowed to reach the population of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the representative of the United States, Council President for August, voiced concern over the closure of the Lachin Corridor, adding that access to food, medicine and baby formula should never be held hostage. Accordingly, she called on Azerbaijan to restore free movement through the Corridor so commercial and humanitarian vehicles can reach the population of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Vasily Nebenzya, the representative of the Russian Federation, while highlighting the key elements of the trilateral agreements — including the delimiting and demarcating the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, with Moscow’s assistance — stressed that Armenian-Azerbaijani reconciliation is unthinkable without reliable security guarantees and the observance of the rights of the inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh. He pointed to his Government’s compromise-based proposal to de-escalate tensions, entailing the parallel opening of corridors through Aghdam and Lachin.

Nevertheless, said Silvio Gonzato, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, Baku’s readiness to supply goods via the city of Aghdam should not be seen as an alternative to reopening the Corridor. Warning against politization of humanitarian access, he underscored that movement through the Lachin Corridor must be reopened immediately.


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