Azerbaijan says claims on Lachin road show attempts to use UN bodies for ‘political manipulation’

Azerbaijan says claims on Lachin road show attempts to use UN bodies for ‘political manipulation’

Deception of UN special rapporteurs, experts by Armenian ‘manipulations’ is ‘extremely worrying,’ says Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry

By Burc Eruygur

ISTANBUL (AA) - Claims from the UN that the southern Caucasus’ Lachin road is being blocked are a sign of attempts to use United Nations bodies for “political manipulation,” Azerbaijan said on Tuesday.

“Claims of some special rapporteurs and the independent expert of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Azerbaijan’s alleged blockade of the ‘Lachin corridor,’ as well as the ‘tense humanitarian situation’ in the ‘Nagorno-Karabakh’ region are both regrettable, as well as indicative of attempts to turn UN bodies into a tool for political manipulations,” said an Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry statement, referring to the Lachin-Khankendi road through Azerbaijan, which Armenians living in Karabakh use for travel to and from Armenia.

The statement said it is “extremely worrying” that UN special rapporteurs and experts are being deceived by Armenian “manipulations,” while also releasing “biased statements” that turn “a blind eye” to the nearly 30-year occupation of the Azerbaijani territory of Karabakh, which largely ended in fall 2020, after a 44-day conflict.

“Furthermore, the usage by the persons in question of expressions such as ‘Nagorno-Karabakh’ in clear disrespect of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, the interference in the internal affairs of Azerbaijan, as well as the double standards against it … are unacceptable,” the statement added.

The statement said Armenia has yet to fully withdraw its forces from Azerbaijani territory, adding that it has been conducting rotations, supplying ammunition, and engaging in looting of natural resources, illicit acts which “were met with silence by the UN and other organizations.”

It further said that the border checkpoint it established at the entrance to the Lachin road aimed to “establish control over its own borders and to prevent the illegal activities of Armenia” and the International Court of Justice’s July 6 unanimous rejection of Yerevan’s appeal to remove the checkpoint “proved the groundless nature of Armenia’s claims.”

It also said that Armenia falsely disseminated allegations on the “tense humanitarian situation” in the region to continue its illegal activities in Azerbaijani territory, adding that Yerevan’s rejection of alternative routes into Karabakh demonstrates its claims are “nothing more than political blackmail and manipulation.”

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages, and settlements from Armenian occupation during 44 days of clashes. The war ended with a Russia-brokered peace agreement.​​​​​​​

Despite ongoing talks over a long-term peace agreement, tensions between the neighboring countries rose in recent months over the Lachin corridor, the only land route giving Armenia access to Karabakh.​​​​​​​

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