President of the EU Council Charles Michel has continued to be intensely engaged in advancing the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process. His efforts over the past weeks, supported by Toivo Klaar, EU Special Representative (EUSR) for the South Caucasus, have focused as a priority on addressing the humanitarian situation of Karabakh Armenians, Michel’s Spokesperson Ecaterina Casinge said in a statement.
EUSR Klaar and President Michel’s team have been in frequent contact with Baku, Yerevan and representatives of Karabakh Armenians to work out a solution for unblocking access.
“The current humanitarian situation on the ground is deteriorating rapidly; it is imperative to take steps to address the needs of the local population,” the statement reads.
European Council President Charles Michel has proposed a step-by-step approach which would reflect a sequencing in the full-fledged operation of the Lachin corridor and the opening of the Aghdam route.
Sequencing of these steps and the type of cargo that would be delivered by each of these roads, as well as attendant procedures, have been the core of the recent discussions.
“The EU strongly believes the Lachin corridor must be unblocked, in line with past agreements and the ICJ Order, and notes that the use of the Aghdam road to provide supplies can also be part of a concrete and sustainable solution to the provision of urgent and daily basic needs. Discussions on these elements had started following the last meeting of the leaders in Brussels on 15 July 2023,” the Spokesperson said.
The EU side has also stressed the need for Baku to provide clarity to Karabakh Armenians in terms of procedures for their movements through Lachin corridor to and from Armenia.
In parallel, exchanges have also focused on restoring electricity and gas supplies to Karabakh Armenians as soon as possible.
Beyond the immediate situation, the EU side has stressed the need to address legacies of the conflict to facilitate a long-term sustainable resolution.
“Dialogue between Baku and representatives of Armenians living in the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast will be essential in this regard. The rights and security of Karabakh Armenians must be guaranteed and discussions on specific modalities should start as soon as possible,” the statement continues.
“The dialogue between Baku and the Karabakh Armenians needs to strengthen confidence and trust. To this end the EU has provided various suggestions for international support to this process, as well as for engagement on the ground to underpin the implementation of agreements reached,” Ecaterina Casinge stated.
“All the above efforts have only one goal: ensure irreversible normalization of relations between Baku and Yerevan for the benefit of all populations on the ground. It is now time for courageous compromise solutions, also in light of today’s escalation,” she said.
“The EU has been engaged with other international actors in these efforts, through regular personal contacts and exchanges of views on how best address the current unsustainable situation,” the Spokesperson concluded.