Armenian FM says immediate humanitarian intervention needed to save 120,000 people from starvation

Armenia and Azerbaijan cannot settle their relations without taking into account the security and rights of the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said in an interview with Der Standard.

“Azerbaijan has always talked about Armenia’s territorial claims. However, for us, the issue is about people’s safety and fundamental rights,” he said.

Speaking about the blocking of the Lachin corridor, the Foreign Minister said it was “illegally closed seven months ago in November 2020, in violation of the cease-fire declaration.”

“Initially, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Russian peacekeeping forces were able to deliver at least some amount of food and medicine to Nagorno Karabakh. However, the corridor has been completely blocked for a month. Nothing passes. Nagorno-Karabakh is under a de facto blockade,” Minister Mirzoyan said.

“The humanitarian situation is very difficult, we are close to a humanitarian disaster. Therefore, it is urgent to show clear international support,” he added.

“We need immediate humanitarian intervention to save 120,000 people from starvation. Then we can continue to negotiate with anyone interested in establishing a stable peace in the region,” the Minister said.

Asked about the prerequisites for lasting peace, he said: “It is important that we avoid entering another dangerous cycle of hostility. Enough blood has already been spilled in the South Caucasus. Mutual recognition of territorial integrity will be key. Unblocking the regional transport infrastructure is also important. And as for the issue of security and rights of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians, we believe that the best mechanism for this would be the dialogue with international participation.”

Question. To what extent have Armenia’s relations with Russia changed since then? After all, your country is a member of the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

On Armenia’s relations with Russia, the Foreign Minister said: “If we follow the current debates in the Armenian society, we can see great disappointment regarding the actions of the Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno Karabakh and the Russian reactions to the invasions of the Armenian territory by Azerbaijan. We appealed to the CSTO and had an observation mission led by the Secretary General. But we expected more. It’s not a secret.”

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