News of the US call for the opening of the Lachin corridor. News headlines and events Last Minute Russia
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken asked Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to redouble his efforts in bilateral peace talks with Armenia and called for the immediate opening of the Lachin Corridor to commercial traffic.
Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan have escalated as the only road providing direct access to Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia has been blocked in recent weeks.
Today’s conversation between Blinken and Aliyev follows a telephone conversation last Wednesday between the Foreign Minister and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, during which steps were discussed to resume bilateral talks with Azerbaijan.
According to a written statement from the Foreign Ministry, Blinken stressed that the risk of a humanitarian crisis in the Lachin corridor undermines hopes for peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The ministry also noted that Blinken also expressed concern about human rights in Azerbaijan during his meeting with Aliyev.
Russia also told Azerbaijan last week that the key road to disputed Nagorno-Karabakh should be cleared of protesters as soon as possible, but Baku refused.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as a territory of Azerbaijan, but it has a predominantly Armenian population. This issue is becoming a source of great discomfort for Russia, which wants to maintain good relations with two small former Soviet states, Azerbaijan and Armenia, in the Caucasus.
Azeris, who call themselves environmental activists, blocked a road for several weeks over a dispute over illegal mining by Armenians. Yerevan says the activists are government-backed agitators. This stalemate is seen as a test of Russia’s ability to resolve conflicts in its own backyard.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last week that Russia was ready to send troops to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border to reduce tensions between the two countries, but Yerevan’s tough stance has so far prevented this.
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