Azerbaijan rejects French allegations of blockading Lachin road
Baku, Yerevan are quarreling over Azerbaijani checkpoint on Lachin road, the only land route which gives Armenia access to Karabakh
By Burc Eruygur
ISTANBUL (AA) - Azerbaijan on Wednesday rejected allegations by the French Foreign Ministry over "blockade" of the Lachin road, the only land route giving Armenia access to Karabakh.
“We once again remind that it is absurd to portray as a ‘blockade’ the activity of the Lachin border checkpoint established in accordance with Azerbaijan’s obligation to guarantee the safety of citizens, vehicles and cargo on the Lachin road, as well as to prevent the misuse of the Lachin road by Armenia for military and illegal economic purposes,” said a statement by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.
Armenia claims the Lachin road is blockaded by Azerbaijan, a claim Baku denies.
In a statement on Tuesday following a phone conversation with the Armenian foreign minister, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna deplored the "blockade" of the road.
She stressed that Azerbaijan must comply with its international obligations, in particular "the provisional measures indicated by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its order of February 22, which are binding."
Reacting to Paris, Azerbaijan regretted that France does not support Azerbaijan’s proposals to establish alternative routes into Karabakh, such as the Aghdam-Khankendi road, which it said is supported by the EU and the Red Cross.
At the same time, the French side did not react to the violation of the agreement by Armenia, which is using alternative roads to further aggravate the tension in the region, Baku said.
It also said that the French side "did not pay attention" to the unanimous rejection of Armenia’s request to remove the checkpoint by the ICJ on July 6.
Despite ongoing talks over a long-term peace agreement, tensions between the neighboring countries rose in recent months over the Lachin road, where Azerbaijan established a border checkpoint in April on the grounds of preventing the illegal transport of military arms and equipment to the region.
The two former Soviet republics have been arch-rivals since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
It culminated in 44 days of war in 2020, when Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages, and settlements from Armenian occupation. The war ended with a Russia-brokered peace agreement.
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