Deal Reached to Allow Humanitarian Aid Routes in Nagorno-Karabakh

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijan Republic have reached an agreement to permit humanitarian aid to flow to Baku’s primarily Armenian-populated breakaway region through two routes, according to local officials and media reports.

Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh have long insisted that Azerbaijan lift the blockade on the critical Lachin corridor, which Baku took control of three years ago. This corridor is the only direct route between the two sides. The agreement also enables Baku to establish a direct link to its breakaway region for the first time since the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the early 1990s, RT reported.

Karabakh authorities, as quoted by the Armenpress news agency on Saturday, stated that they had decided to “allow the entry of Russian humanitarian shipments to our republic through the city of Askeran,” which is near the area controlled by Baku. This move aims to address the humanitarian challenges resulting from Azerbaijan’s complete blockade.

Additionally, authorities in Baku and Karabakh have agreed to restore “humanitarian cargo transportation by Russian peacekeepers and the International Committee of the Red Cross through the Lachin corridor,” the report noted. The Lachin corridor is the sole road link between the contested region and Armenia.

Hikmet Hajiyev, a foreign policy adviser to Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, confirmed that both roads would be opened simultaneously but clarified that an Azerbaijani checkpoint in the Lachin corridor would remain operational.

Armenia has consistently accused Azerbaijan of unlawfully obstructing the Lachin corridor, an accusation that Baku denies, asserting that it has implemented measures to prevent arms smuggling along this route.

This agreement follows phone discussions on Saturday between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the leaders of France, Germany, Iran, and Georgia, as well as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. On the same day, the parliament of Nagorno-Karabakh elected a new president, Samvel Shahramanyan, although neither Baku nor the EU recognized the legitimacy of the election.

Recent tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly ethnic Armenian region that seceded from Baku, have escalated in recent weeks. Both countries have accused each other of provocative actions, leading to clashes that resulted in the deaths of several Armenian service members.

The roots of this conflict trace back to the waning days of the Soviet Union when Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence from Baku. These tensions escalated into a full-scale war in the early 1990s, culminating in a 1994 ceasefire that has since been marked by sporadic fighting. The Second Nagorno-Karabakh War in 2020, one of the bloodiest confrontations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, resulted in Baku gaining control of a significant portion of territory and concluded with a Russian-mediated ceasefire.

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