Humanitarian aid enters Karabakh through Armenia, Azerbaijan

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Trucks with humanitarian aid entered on Monday Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh after Armenian separatists and the central government agreed to use roads linking it to Armenia and Azerbaijan, Baku said.

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Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of fueling a humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh after Baku last year blocked the sole road linking the mountainous region with Armenia, the Lachin corridor policed by Russian peacekeepers.

Azerbaijan has rejected the accusation, arguing Nagorno-Karabakh could receive all the supplies it needed via Azerbaijan.

Baku has said that the separatist authorities had simply refused its proposal to simultaneously reopen both the Lachin corridor and the Aghdam road which connects Nagorno-Karabakh with the rest of Azerbaijan.

On Monday the “Simultaneous passage of the Red Cross cars was ensured” through the Lachin corridor and the Aghdam road, Hikmet Hajiyev, foreign policy advisor to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said on social media.

International Committee of the Red Cross said that thanks to “a humanitarian consensus between the decision-makers, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is today bringing shipments of wheat flour and essential medical items to people in need via the Lachin Corridor and the Aghdam road.”

Nagorno-Karabakh residents “urgently need sustained relief through regular humanitarian shipments. This consensus has allowed our teams to resume this lifesaving work,” said Ariane Bauer, ICRC’s regional director for Europe and Central Asia.

The European Union and United States have called for the reopening of Lachin and Aghdam routes for humanitarian aid as Nagorno-Karabakh experienced shortages of food and medicine.

The months-long crisis as well as Baku’s deployment of troops near Nagorno-Karabakh and along the border with Armenia have sparked fears of a fresh all-out conflict between the arch-foes who have fought two wars for control of the region.

Six weeks of fighting ended in autumn 2020 with a Russian-brokered truce that saw Armenia cede swathes of territory it had controlled since the 1990s.

The two sides have been unable to reach a lasting peace settlement despite mediation efforts by the European Union, United States and Russia.

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