YEREVAN, 17 DECEMBER, 2022
EASTERN PARTNERSHIP CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM’S ARMENIAN NATIONAL PLATFORM STATEMENT ON AZERBAIJAN’S CLOSURE OF THE LACHIN CORRIDOR AND CREATING A HUMANITARIAN DISASTER IN ARTSAKH
17 December 2022, Yerevan
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum’s Armenian National Platform (hereinafter, EaP CSF ANP) strongly condemns Azerbaijan’s blockade of the only road connecting Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) with Armenia and the world on December 12, which was followed by the closure of natural gas supply to Artsakh. As a result of this new blockade, thousands of citizens are left on the road, families are separated, the entire population of Artsakh is left without heating, and patients in need of emergency surgery cannot be moved to Yerevan. This is another gross violation of the core principles of resolving Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh issue’s mutually agreed under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group, as well as the ceasefire tripartite declaration signed in 2020 November 10, after the ending war unleashed by Azerbaijan. Only after the active engagement of the international community and pressure on Aliyev’s regime, Azerbaijan has restored gas supplies from Armenia to Artsakh, while the road remains closed. However, experience shows that the next repetition of this aggressive adventure cannot be excluded․
In the country, where any opposition figure and civil activist who freely expresses his/her thoughts and fights for rights and legitimacy is either imprisoned, killed, or exiled, in a country that is ranked by international human rights organizations among the worst dictatorships in the world, together with Belarus and Russia, “representatives of civil society” who are supposedly concerned about ecological problems, accompanied and supported by the Azerbaijani special forces, become complicit in this shameful anti-human act of the regime. Meanwhile, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) has been recognized by international human rights organizations as a partially free country, with indicators of human rights, electoral democracy, and fight against corruption ranked four times higher than Azerbaijan, the latter being rated as a non-free country.
Such an action in the cold winter month shows that not only the rights of the people of Artsakh, but also the basic security and livelihood cannot be guaranteed within the Azerbaijan, therefore the only solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem can be the application of the internationally recognized norm of secession for the sake of salvation (remedial secession). The road blockade comes amid Aliyev’s threats to air traffic, when he announced that any aircraft, whether military or civilian, attempting to travel from Armenia to Artsakh would be shot down by Azerbaijan’s armed forces. All this shows that Aliyev’s assurances that “Azerbaijan is ready to guarantee Armenian citizens’ security and rights” are false and aimed at misleading the international community.
It is obvious that this provocation by Azerbaijan is aimed at preparing the grounds for a new military escalation, by which the Aliyev regime, taking advantage of the international community’s focus on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, intends to complete the ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population of Artsakh, which began back in the Soviet era and consistently continue to this day.
These criminal and anti-Armenian actions by Azerbaijan once again take place with the tacit support of Russia. The Russian “peacekeepers” are not performing their actual functions, which betrays the Kremlin’s plans to once again put the Armenian people on the altar in exchange for some payments or dividends from Azerbaijani side.
Taking into consideration the above mentioned, the EaP CSF ANP:
- demands from the Authorities of the Republic of Armenia to enhance the diplomatic work with the Western partners of Armenia, urging them to exert the necessary pressure on Azerbaijan finally begin to fulfill the international obligations assumed: to open the Lachin Corridor, to prevent the upcoming humanitarian crisis and disaster in Artsakh, as well as the withdrawal of the occupation forces of Azerbaijan from the territory of the Republic of Armenia and the release of all Armenian prisoners of war;
- demands from the Authorities of the Republic of Armenia to raise a question at the UN Security Council, regarding the issue of replacement of the Russian troops deployed in Artsakh with the UN-mandated EU or OSCE peacekeepers;
- re-affirms its demand from the Authorities of the Republic of Armenia to take necessary effective measures and active steps for Armenia’s exit from CSTO;
- demands from the Authorities of Armenia to activate and enhance the negotiations with the USA, France, India, Greece, and other countries friendly to Armenia regarding the development of military-technical cooperation aimed at increasing the security level of our country.
The EaP CSF Armenian National Platform calls on the EU and EaP democratic countries as well as their civil societies to continue the campaign of condemnation of Azerbaijan’s aggressive actions as well as the involvement of some citizens in those actions under the name of civil society.
We also call on the European Commission to impose and apply sanctions on the Aliev’s dictatorial regime, to sever all the ties with it, to halt and stop its financing, as well as to restore the EU civilian observation mission on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Co-Chairs of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership
Civil Society Forum