Today, two Russian Red Cross trucks carrying aid were allowed into the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Negotiations have been going on for weeks about allowing humanitarian aid into the area and lifting the blockade to the Armenian region. Aid supplies are only coming in piecemeal.
Nagorno-Karabakh, where some 120,000 Armenians live, has been cut off from the outside world for nine months, resulting in a humanitarian crisis. The only access road to the Armenian region of Azerbaijan has been blocked since December. Previously, one truck was allowed in the area.
Today, two trucks carrying wheat flour and medicines crossed the border simultaneously via the Lachin corridor (from Armenia) and via the Azerbaijani city of Aghdam.
“I hope that this consensus will make it possible to send humanitarian convoys in this direction not only today, but also in the coming weeks, so that we can regularly provide aid to those who need it,” said Ariane Bauer, Regional Director of Europe and Central Asia for the Red Cross.
Until mid-June this year, the international aid organization was still able to bring essential goods, such as medicines and baby food, into the area. Because, according to Azerbaijan, contraband was found several times, the Red Cross was also no longer allowed to enter the area.
Correspondent Iris de Graaf was recently in the area and made the following report about the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh:
Nagorno-Karabakh has been a source of conflict between the two neighboring countries in the Caucasus since the early 1990s. In those years, the ethnic Armenian enclave managed to secede from Azerbaijan in a bloody civil war.
Since December, the only road link between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, the Lachin corridor, has been blocked. No one can enter or leave the enclave, this also applies to aid supplies.
More than a week ago, a deal seemed to be reached between the ethnic Armenian authorities in Karabakh and the government of Azerbaijan. In exchange for allowing aid from Azerbaijan, that country would lift the blockade of the Lachin corridor.
That was the condition from Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenians fear that by allowing only Azerbaijani aid supplies, Azerbaijan will gain control of the area. An adviser to the Azerbaijani president later denied that arrangements had been made to open the routes.
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