Azerbaijanis claiming to be “environmental activists,” who have been blockading the Lachin Corridor for the past 138 days announced on Friday that they would “temporarily” suspend their protests, Azerbaijani media reported.
The demonstrators’ so-called protest actions resulted in the complete blockade of Artsakh, creating a humanitarian crisis, which Artsakh authorities are calling an attempt by Baku to ethnically cleanse the Armenian population of Artsakh.
Azerbaijan’s president’s special envoy met with the protesters in Shushi on Friday and announced that beginning on April 23 a “new reality” has been created, the APA news agency reported.
On April 23, Azerbaijan set up an illegal checkpoint at the Lachin Corridor and closed the Hakari River bridge. Officials in Baku have said all traffic through the Lachin Corridor will be inspected by officers stationed at the checkpoint.
This has resulted in an international rebuke of Baku, with the United States, the European Union and Russia, whose peacekeeping forces are officially in charge of the road, all calling for Azerbaijan to end the blockade and respect the provisions of the November 9, 2020 agreement.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who earlier had urged Baku to end the Artsakh blockade, on Friday said that the checkpoint installed by Azerbaijan on the Lachin Corridor contradicts the November 9, 2020 agreement.
That agreement specifically calls for the unimpeded access to the road—the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia—and adds that Russian peacekeepers will be responsible for handling all matters on the Lachin Corridor.
“Since April 23, a new situation has been created in connection with the establishment of a checkpoint in the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan by the units of the State Border Service,” the Azerbaijani presidential envoy told the protesters and asked them to halt their actions.