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Azerbaijan summons French ambassador for sending humanitarian aid to Nagorno-Karabakh

1 September 2023
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo accompanying the French humanitarian aid convoy to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry has summoned French Ambassador Anne Boillon and handed her a note of protest against her country for sending a humanitarian convoy to the Lachin Corridor.

On Thursday, Baku accused Paris of interfering in Azerbaijan’s internal affairs and violating its sovereignty and territorial integrity by sending a humanitarian aid convoy to blockaded Nagorno-Karabakh.

France had sent a convoy of 10 lorries to Nagorno-Karabakh — its second in less than a month. The convoy, accompanied by Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, was blocked from entering the region.

[Read on OC Media: Azerbaijan blocks French convoy from reaching Nagorno-Karabakh, sends its own]

‘These provocative actions, which are a tool of the campaign of lies and manipulation by Armenia, are another example of steps aimed at escalating the situation in the region and encouraging Armenia to continue its revanchist stance, which has intensified in recent days’, stated the ministry. 

The ministry also accused France of endangering the ‘fragile normalisation process promoted by the active efforts of international actors in the region’.

Nagorno-Karabakh has been under varying degrees of blockade since December and has been completely cut off from supplies from Armenia since mid-June as Baku continues to insist that the Lachin Corridor — the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia — was not under blockade.

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France has yet to comment on the summoning of its ambassador.

Paris and Baku have been locked in a series of strained diplomatic exchanges over the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, with France repeatedly calling on Azerbaijan to lift the blockade and allow for the passage of humanitarian aid and goods to Nagorno-Karabakh through the corridor.

Baku has instead insisted that Nagorno-Karabakh receives humanitarian aid through Azerbaijani territory, as Paris and Yerevan warn of a worsening humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Le Figaro has reported that France is preparing to submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council for the provision of assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenians ‘who are on the verge of starvation due to the blockade of Azerbaijan’.

‘Basic humanitarian assistance should never be held hostage to political disagreements’

Azerbaijan has come under increasing international pressure over the closure of the Lachin Corridor.

On Thursday, US State Department Spokesperson Mathew Miller expressed ‘deep concern’ about ‘deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Nagorno-Karabakh resulting from the continued blockage of food, medicine, and other goods essential to a dignified existence’.

‘We reiterate our call to immediately re-open the Lachin corridor to humanitarian, commercial, and passenger traffic’, he said.

Miller urged the officials of Baku and Stepanakert to ‘convene without delay to agree on the means of transporting critical provisions to the men, women, children of Nagorno-Karabakh’.

‘Basic humanitarian assistance should never be held hostage to political disagreements’, stated Miller.

Baku quickly condemned Washington’s statement, with Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Aykham Hajizade stating that the Lachin Corridor was open for ‘Armenian residents in both directions on a daily basis’.

Hajizade pointed to Stepanakert and Yerevan’s rejection of Azerbaijan’s proposal to send supplies to Nagorno-Karabakh through Azerbaijan-controlled territories.

‘[The] constant rejection of the proposals of Azerbaijan once again demonstrates that the situation is not at all humanitarian, but rather political in nature,’ he said.

For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.

Read in Georgian on On.ge.