Yerevan rejects Baku’s proposal for checkpoints along key Karabakh road

By Mark Dovich

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan has rejected a proposal by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to install checkpoints along the sole road connecting Armenia and Karabakh.

“The regulations around the Lachin corridor have been negotiated and signed,” Mirzoyan said at a press conference Wednesday, referring to the ceasefire statement that ended the 2020 Karabakh war. “Renegotiating the Lachin corridor is unacceptable to us.”

After talks with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Munich over the weekend, Aliyev told reporters that Baku was waiting for a response from Yerevan on a proposal to install checkpoints along the corridor.

“Checkpoints should be established…at the border between the Lachin district and Armenia,” Aliyev was quoted as saying Saturday by Anadolu Agency.

The November 2020 ceasefire statement, signed by Pashinyan, Aliyev, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, says Azerbaijan should “guarantee the safe movement of citizens, vehicles, and goods in both directions along the Lachin corridor.”

The Lachin corridor is a five-kilometer-wide strip of land, formally under the control of Russian peacekeepers, that surrounds the Goris-Stepanakert highway. It became the only overland route connecting Armenia and Karabakh after Azerbaijan made decisive territorial gains in the 2020 war.

Azerbaijan has blocked the highway continuously since mid-December, effectively cutting off Karabakh from the outside world. The blockade has now stretched into its third month, prompting a major humanitarian crisis in the region. Karabakh’s state-run InfoCenter reported Wednesday that the region continues to face severe shortages of food and medicine, as well as power outages.


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