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Azerbaijan turns to int'l agencies over Armenia's misuse of Lachin corridor

10 March 2022 12:40 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijan turns to int'l agencies over Armenia's misuse of Lachin corridor

By Ayya Lmahamad

The Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers has sent a letter to a number of organizations and foreign state bodies over Armenia's attempts to use the Lachin corridor for military purposes rather than its intended purpose.

The letter was sent to the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, and NATO secretaries-general, as well as the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the Russian Foreign Ministry.

It should be noted that this appeal was made against the background of the fact that destructive forces in Armenia and illegal Armenian armed formations on Azerbaijani territory under Russian peacekeepers' control have been increasingly shelling Azerbaijani military positions over the past few days.

The passage zone, called the Lachin corridor, which is the only road between Azerbaijan's Karabakh and Armenia, is currently under the control of Russian peacekeepers on temporary duty in the region for five years in line with a trilateral ceasefire deal signed by Baku, Moscow and Yerevan on November 10, 2020.

Armenian forces occupying Azerbaijan's Lachin region during the first Karabakh war in the early 1990s obtained a direct link between Armenia and Karabakh, and thanks to the road, they occupied the entire Karabakh and surrounding provinces.

For many years, the Lachin corridor was the lifeblood of the separatist Armenian administration of Karabakh, and they used it for military reinforcement, infrastructure, and commercial needs.

In Brussels, during his joint press conference with NATO General-Secretary Jens Stoltenberg in December 2021, President Ilham Aliyev reiterated Azerbaijan's unwavering commitment to the Zangazur corridor project and said if Armenia refuses to provide an uninterrupted connection through its Syunik province, it will have implications for the Lachin corridor. In diplomatic and analytical circles, the parallels have long been drawn between the two, but the idea had hitherto never been voiced officially.

The Zangazur corridor is pivotal to Baku’s vision of the future of the South Caucasus, and it is being pushed through assertive diplomacy. President Aliyev expressed Azerbaijan's readiness to accept both options, in other words, either there could be customs checks both on the Lachin and Zangazur corridors or none on either. This appears to be a very wise and calculated move to force Yerevan’s hand towards agreeing to the legal regime suggested by Baku.

In his Facebook post, Pashinyan confirmed that the sides agreed on the opening of the railway, where border and customs rules will be applicable on the principle of reciprocity. This shows, at least on an official level, that Yerevan is not yet ready to acquiesce to Baku’s proposal.

About 2,000 Russian peacekeepers have been deployed for five years in Karabakh under the trilateral cease-fire deal signed on November 10, 2020. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw all its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it had occupied since the early 1990s.

The trilateral agreement brought an end to the three-decade conflict over Azerbaijan's Karabakh region, which, along with seven adjacent districts, was occupied by Armenian armed forces during the war in the early 1990s.

It also stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions. Prior to the signing of the peace deal, Azerbaijan liberated 300 villages, settlements, city centers, and historic Shusha city that had been under Armenian occupation for about 30 years.

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Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad

Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

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