US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday urged Azerbaijan’s leader to reopen a key corridor linking Armenia with the flashpoint enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, warning that a blockade could reignite conflict with Yerevan.
Blinken spoke by telephone with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev “to urge an immediate reopening of the Lachin corridor to commercial traffic,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
“He underscored that the risk of a humanitarian crisis in the Lachin corridor undermined prospects for peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” Price said in a statement.
The Secretary encouraged President Aliyev to redouble efforts in bilateral peace discussions with Armenia. He also raised human rights concerns in Azerbaijan.
Blinken last week also spoke with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and voiced “deep concern for the worsening humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh” due to the blockage of the corridor.
Since December 12, protesters who claim to be environmental activists have occupied the Lachin corridor, the only road linking the Republic of Artsakh to Armenia.