Australian Liberal and Greens Foreign Affairs Spokespersons call for an end to Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh

Liberal Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham and Australian Greens Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Senator Jordon Steele-John joined the Armenian-Australian community in calling for an end to Azerbaijan’s illegal blockade of Artsakh and urged the petro-dictatorship to heed the calls of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) ruling, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia.

The state-sponsored blockade, which commenced on the 12th of December 2022, was initiated under the guise of “environmental protesters” over the alleged illegal mining of natural resources in the Nagorno Karabakh region, however since the 23rd of April 2023, the authoritarian regime’s agents masquerading as protesters have been replaced with a formal Azerbaijani military checkpoint installed along the corridor. s

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Simon Birmingham, took to Twitter on the 29th of July 2023 for the first time publicly calling on Azerbaijan to lift its blockade on the 120,000 Christian Armenians in Artsakh echoing the powerful provisional orders of the top judicial organ of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In his tweet, Senator Birmingham was quoted as saying, “For 200 days, the blockade of Lachin Corridor has impacted the rights, health & wellbeing of the people of Nagorno Karabakh. The @CIJ_ICJ orders should be honoured, with Azerbaijan reopening the Lachin Corridor. We urge all parties’ continued commitment to peace discussions.”

Australian Greens Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Senator Jordan Steele-John joined his Federal counterpart on the 29th of June 2023 via Twitter to publicly call on the Azerbaijani regime to end its siege and adhere to the orders of the ICJ.

Western Australian Senator Steele-John said, “Today marks 200 days that the Lachin Corridor has been blocked. The @Greens are calling on Azerbaijan to uphold the ruling by the International Court of Justice’s order to “guarantee safe movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo in both directions along the Lachin corridor.”

Both public messages of support come at a critical time, as the 29th of June 2023 marked the 200th day that Artsakh has been subject to a crippling blockade at the hands of the Azerbaijani regime.

Senator Steele-John and Senator Birmingham, over the last 200 days, have consistently raised this issue through various mechanisms, including Senate Estimates and private meetings with Azerbaijan’s Charge D’affaires, maintaining direct and clear calls for Azerbaijan to open the Lachin Corridor.

Despite public outcry from the Armenian-Australian community as the humanitarian crisis in Artsakh grows worse day by day, the Australian Foreign Minister is still yet to make a statement condemning Azerbaijan for the blockade and calling for the immediate free flow of people, goods and supplies through the Lachin corridor.

Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU) Michael Kolokossian stated, “It was really great to see Senators Birmingham and Steele-John use their public platforms to call attention to this issue. As the blockade enters its 200th day, it’s becoming more and more important for our allies to help amplify the concerns of the Armenian-Australian community and stand up for the people of Artsakh.”

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