By the Prime Minister's decision, a working group was set up to provide humanitarian support to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh
Chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the year-end Cabinet meeting was held today.
Before discussing the agenda of the session, the Prime Minister made a speech, referring to the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh due to the closure of the Lachin Corridor, the actions of the Armenian Government aimed at managing it, and the activities of the Russian peacekeeping troops.
In his speech, Nikol Pashinyan noted.
“Dear participants of the Cabinet meeting,
As a result of the closure of the Lachin Corridor for 18 days now, the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is worsening day by day. Hundreds of families in Nagorno-Karabakh continue to be divided, being on different sides of the blockade. The shortage of essential goods is becoming more and more tangible. Shops are emptied. Food supply restrictions are introduced in public facilities, the public is in a state of social and psychological tension.
Taking all this into consideration, I have decided to form a working group headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Khachatryan to support the people of Nagorno Karabakh in the management of the humanitarian crisis, whose task will be to monitor humanitarian issues together with the authorities of Nagorno Karabakh and provide the necessary urgent support, including with the help of international organizations. The working group will also include the Ministers of Health, Labor and Social Affairs, Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, as well as representatives of other departments.
The issue of providing additional support of 4 billion AMD to Nagorno Karabakh is included in the package of non-reportable issues at today's Cabinet meeting. It is an absolute necessity to provide necessary humanitarian, socio-psychological support to the people of Nagorno Karabakh. International awareness raising of the humanitarian crisis should also become part of our daily work. Partner states, international organizations should be informed in detail about the humanitarian crisis and the worsening of the situation.
I have had occasion to say, but I must emphasize now that the closure of the Lachin Corridor is a gross violation of point 6 of the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020. Under this clause, two of the parties to the trilateral declaration, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation, bear obligations. Azerbaijan guarantees the safety of the movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo through the Lachin Corridor, and the peacekeeping force of the Russian Federation keeps the Lachin Corridor under control.
The statements circulated by Azerbaijan on international platforms that the Lachin Corridor is open for traffic are false and have nothing to do with reality. The Lachin Corridor has been closed by Azerbaijan, and this is a flagrant violation of its international obligations. Even if we rely on the propaganda version of Azerbaijan that the Lachin Corridor was blocked by eco-activists, according to point 6 of the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020, ensuring the safe movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo through the Lachin Corridor is Azerbaijan's direct obligation.
Under these circumstances, the Russian Federation's peacekeeping troops in Nagorno-Karabakh and the Russian Federation, which has assumed specific security obligations in front of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, should bring a clear clarification of the situation. What is the Russian Federation's assessment of the situation? What is its plan and road map to restore Lachin Corridor? These are questions that the people of the Republic of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh are waiting for answers from the Russian Federation, which, let me remind you, is also a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
If the Russian Federation is unable to ensure stability and security in Nagorno-Karabakh for objective or subjective reasons, I think that it should initiate a discussion in the UN Security Council and grant the Russian Federation's peacekeeping force in Nagorno-Karabakh with a UN Security Council’s mandate or raise the question of sending an additional multinational peacekeeping force to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Such a question arises also because the closing of the Lachin Corridor is not the first case of Azerbaijan invading the zone of responsibility of the peacekeeping troops of the Russian Federation in Nagorno-Karabakh. This was preceded by the Parukh events in March 2022 and the Khtsaberd events in December 2020, as a result of which around three dozen citizens of the Republic of Armenia continue to remain captives. There are all signs to assert that Azerbaijan is preparing another military provocation, including in Nagorno Karabakh, and the developments of the situation raise questions that require an urgent answer regarding the activities of the peacekeeping troops of the Russian Federation in Nagorno Karabakh.
I must honestly say that the Republic of Armenia is a convinced supporter of the presence of the peacekeeping troops of the Russian Federation in Nagorno-Karabakh. But the more and more visible behavior of the peacekeeping troops of the Russian Federation of becoming a silent witness of the depopulation of Nagorno Karabakh is unacceptable for us. In any case, we have to work closely with the Russian Federation and our other international partners to clarify these issues in order to prevent further escalation of the situation and to reach a comprehensive settlement. I should also reaffirm Armenia's willingness and determination to sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan, to complete the border delimitation, and to open regional communications.