The European Parliament has called for a UN-mandated OSCE mission to replace the Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh, criticising the Russian mission for failing to resolve the Lachin Corridor blockade.
The resolution adopted on Thursday also condemned Azerbaijan for the closure of the Lachin Corridor. It called for a UN or OSCE fact-finding mission to be deployed to the Lachin Corridor to assess the humanitarian situation on the ground.
The European Parliament called for the EU to be actively involved in ensuring that the ‘inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh are no longer held hostage by Baku’s activism, Russia’s destructive role, and the Minsk Group’s inactivity’.
The Lachin Corridor, the only way in and out of Nagorno-Karabakh, has been closed for over a month by Azerbaijanis claiming to be eco-activists. The activists say they are protesting illegal mining activity in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The European Parliament condemned Azerbaijan’s ‘scapegoating of human rights defenders and CSOs’, calling on EU member states to support human rights organisations in the country.
Following the passage of the resolution, Iceland’s Foreign Minister and President of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir also called for the reopening of the Lachin Corridor.
‘I am concerned about the increasingly precarious humanitarian situation of people living in Nagorno-Karabakh’, she stated.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry responded that Gylfadóttir’s statement failed to ‘to reflect the realities on the ground’.
‘Such attitude to the peaceful protests on the Lachin road with the demand to prevent the illegal exploitation of Azerbaijan’s mineral deposits, their illegal transportation to Armenia, and the abuse of the Lachin road, the use of which is intended only for humanitarian purposes, is incomprehensible’, read the ministry’s statement.
The closure of the Lachin Corridor has left the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh with shortages of many essential supplies. The region has also been cut off from gas supplies twice since the blockade started and has experienced a series of rolling blackouts.
Authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh met with representatives of the Azerbaijani Government along with the commander of the Russian peacekeeping mission, Andrey Volkov, on Tuesday. Although Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated on Wednesday that he ‘hopes’ the situation would be resolved soon, Stepanakert stated that ‘no progress’ had been made at the meeting.
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.