Minsk Group Co-Chairs France, Russia, United States Must Force Azerbaijan to Reopen Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh’s only lifeline, The Lachin (Berdzor) Corridor

Posted on December. 22. 2022

BY Appo Jabarian

On Monday, December 11, secret agents and special forces of Azerbaijan posing as ‘civilian protesters’ blocked Lachin Corridor connecting Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. The blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the only connection between Armenia and the region, cuts off the people of Artsakh Republic/Nagorno-Karabakh from the outside world. Azerbaijan also cut gas supply during freezing winter temperatures, per Karabakh’s state-run InfoCenter. The so-called ‘Azerbaijani civilians’ claimed they closed the Stepanakert-Goris highway to “protest environmental issues,” according to InfoCenter. Minsk Group Co-Chairs France, Russia, United States must force Azerbaijan to reopen Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh’s only lifeline, the Lachin (Berdzor) Corridor. It is their fiduciary duty mandated by the international community. Many Armenians strongly believe that in the absence of real efforts to protect and save Artsakh Armenians, the Artsakh/Nagorno Karabakh region will face a similar fate as the ancestral Armenian territory of Nakhichevan when in 1950- 60’s the Azerbaijani government systematically uprooted the indigenous Nakhichevan Armenians. Nakhichevan’s systematic depopulation should serve as an alarm to help the indigenous Artsakh/Nagorno Karabakh Armenians avoid the fate of Nakhichevan. In Fall 2020, Azerbaijan-Turkey-ISIS launched an unprovoked terrorist attacks against Artsakh Armenians in an attempt to perpetrate the Second and Final Genocide of Armenians. Both Turkish Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijan’s dictator Ilham Aliyev have both boasted of wanting to grab more ancestral Armenian lands through a new genocidal campaign. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated: “Closure of the Lachin Corridor has severe humanitarian implications and sets back the peace process. … We call on the government of Azerbaijan to restore free movement through the corridor.” On Sunday, Pope Francis expressed deep concerns about the 120,000 Armenians, including 30,000 children, facing isolation from the world and deprivation of food, medicine, and basic necessities. Families have reportedly been separated, and many are unable to reach Armenia for adequate medical treatment. The Pope said, “I am concerned about the precarious humanitarian conditions of the people, which are in further danger of deteriorating during the winter season.” Founding Chairman, American Armenian National Security Institute (AANSI), Mark MacCarley stated, “The Lachin Corridor must be reopened now. Failure to do so will inevitably lead to disaster and, most probably, renewed armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. AANSI calls on Azerbaijan to step back from the precipice of war and withdraw its “forces” from the Corridor. It demands that Russia fulfil its obligations under the Trilateral Agreement and protect and insure free passage along this absolutely critical passageway.” He urged, “AANSI sees the immediate necessity for all concerned nations to join with AANSI to condemn this blatant Azeri aggression and to provide robust humanitarian assistance to the people of Artsakh through whatever means of peaceful access to Artsakh become available as a consequence of collective pressure applied to Azerbaijan and Russia. This must be done NOW.” “It is disturbing that the only time the people of Azerbaijan are allowed to freely protest is when it threatens the lives of Armenians,” the Congressional Caucus on Armenia, which includes Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Frank Pallone, Jr. (DN.J.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.), said in a statement. “Their blockade of the Lachin Corridor appears coordinated and intended to shut off the only remaining supply route for much of Artsakh’s food, medical supplies and transport, and other essential goods, not to mention further restrict the people of Artsakh’s freedom of movement,” the caucus continued. “Additional reports allege that Azerbaijan has also shut off one of the major sources of natural gas for civilians in the territory, potentially leaving tens of thousands without heating as temperatures plummet, much like it did earlier this year in March.” The European Union also issued a statement, calling on “the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure freedom and security of movement along the corridor.” A trilateral agreement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia in 2020 to end a large-scale war stated that the Lachin Corridor would remain under the control of Russian peacekeepers and that Azerbaijan had to guarantee the safe movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo in both directions. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry falsely claimed that the “road was closed by the Russian peacekeepers, not Azerbaijanis.” Armenia’s Foreign Ministry stated, “The propagandistic preparations for closing the Lachin Corridor started months ago and it is obvious that this provocation was organized by the state bodies of Azerbaijan, aiming to cut off Nagorno-Karabakh from the Republic of Armenia and thus from the outside world.” Schools in Nagorno-Karabakh are being shut down. Some families are now cut off from one another. Thousands of Artsakh Armenians are stranded in Armenia. Azerbaijan deserves to be targeted by international sanctions. World Armenians and friends of Armenia can make a huge difference by dispatching humanitarian support brigades such as AANSI – The American Armenian National Security Institute Humanitarian Support Brigade to Armenia/Artsakh.

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