The United States, the European Union and France were among international players issuing a rebuke to Azerbaijan over its illegal installation of a checkpoint on the already blockaded Lachin Corridor, on the eve of the Armenian Genocide anniversary.
Azerbaijani forces opened a checkpoint on Sunday at the Lachin Corridor entrance and blocked the Hakari Bridge leading into the area. This action goes directly against all provisions of the November 9, 2020 agreement.
Russian peacekeeping forces are reportedly negotiating with Azerbaijan to remove the checkpoint.
The United States voiced its deep concern that Azerbaijan has established a checkpoint on the Lachin corridor and said it undermines efforts to establish confidence in the peace process.
“We reiterate that there should be free and open movement of people and commerce on the Lachin corridor and call on the parties to resume peace talks and refrain from provocations and hostile actions along the border,” State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said Sunday in a statement.
While visiting the Dzidzrenagapert Armenian Genocide monument on Monday, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Kristina Kvien reiterated Washington’s concern.
“As the United States said yesterday, we are deeply concerned about Azerbaijan’s decision to set up a checkpoint on the Lachin corridor. We find it unhelpful to the peace process. And what we are focusing on now is trying to get the parties to speak together, to come up with the solutions that are mutually agreed, and we will continue to support the peace process to try to move it forward,” Kvien said, adding that the U.S. finds “any use of violence or any provocative act to be unhelpful to the peace process.”
In its rebuke, France urged Baku to implement the decision of the International Court of Justice, which in February called on Azerbaijan “take all measures at its disposal to ensure unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles and cargo along the Lachin corridor in both directions.”
Armenia said on Monday it again will turn to the ICJ on the matter of the Azerbaijani checkpoint in the Lachin corridor.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the French Foreign Ministry stressed that the installation by Azerbaijan of a checkpoint at the entrance to the new road of the Lachin corridor “contradicts the obligations” assumed by Baku under the terms of the Russia-brokered 2020 ceasefire agreement and “damages the negotiation process.”
France’s foreign ministry called for the restoration of the free movement of goods and people along the Lachin corridor, as well as for the uninterrupted supply of natural gas and electricity.
The EU’s foreign affairs and security representative Josep Borrell also admonished Baku and called for a resolution through dialogue.
“We discussed Azerbaijan’s decision of unilaterally installing a checkpoint at the entrance to the Lachin Corridor, which contradicts our call to reduce tension. Issues should be resolved through dialogue,” Borrell said.
He emphasized that Azerbaijan should build trust with the Armenian side as a basis for progress towards the normalization of relations.