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Humanitarian aid flows to Nagorno-Karabakh via Armenia and Azerbaijan

The flow of humanitarian aid to the region has resumed following an agreement between the two countries, according to Baku and the Red Cross.

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid entered Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh after Armenian separatists and the central government had agreed to use roads linking it to Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Armenia blamed Azerbaijan for the prolonged humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh after Baku last year blocked the only road linking the mountainous region to Armenia, the Lachin corridor guarded by Russian peacekeepers.

Azerbaijan rejected the accusations, saying Nagorno-Karabakh can receive all the supplies it needs through Azerbaijan.

Baku claimed the separatist authorities had simply refused its offer to simultaneously open both the Lachin corridor and the Aghdam road linking Nagorno-Karabakh with the rest of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s foreign policy adviser Hikmet Hajiyev said authorities ensured “simultaneous passage of Red Cross vehicles” through the Lachin corridor and the Aghdam road on Monday.

“The whole international community once again witnessed that there was no so-called blockade but deliberate self-blockade, weaponisation and politisation of humanitarian issues and theatrical dramas.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says that thanks to humanitarian consensus among decision-makers, the ICRC is able to deliver shipments of wheat flour and basic necessities to people in need via the Lachin corridor and the Aghdam road.

This consensus has allowed our teams to resume this lifesaving work.

The inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh, populated predominantly by ethnic Armenians, are “in urgent need of sustained relief through regular humanitarian shipments.”

The European Union and the United States have called for the reopening of the Lachin and Aghdam routes for humanitarian aid as Nagorno-Karabakh faces shortages of food and medicine.

Fears of a new conflict between Yerevan and Baku have been fuelled by the months-long crisis and the deployment of Baku troops near Nagorno-Karabakh and along the border with Armenia. In the history of Nagorno-Karabakh, the countries have fought two wars for control of the region.

Six weeks of fighting ended in 2020 with a ceasefire brokered by Russia. Armenia ceded part of the territory it had controlled since the 1990s.

Despite the mediation efforts of the European Union, the United States and Russia, both countries have failed to reach a lasting peace settlement.

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