Azerbaijan was angered on Wednesday by the Untied States’ continued insistence on the complete restoration of free movement through the Lachin Corridor, “including commercial and private travel.”
“We have a good sense of the state of play. We have various concerns. Let me just state, on the topic of those concerns, our concerns regarding the Lachin corridor. We are concerned that the situation there is worsening; the worsening humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh has been a focus of not only the Secretary but others in this building,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a press briefing on Tuesday.
“Ongoing obstruction of normal commercial and private travel along the Lachin corridor is causing shortages of food, fuel, and medicine for the residents who depend on the corridor for those very basic supplies. Periodic disruptions to natural gas and other basic utilities exacerbate the worsening humanitarian situation. We call for the full restoration of free movement through the corridor, including commercial and private travel,” Price added.
“We believe we need a solution to this impasse that will ensure the safety and well-being of the population living in the area, and we believe the way forward is, as I said before, through negotiations. We remain committed to supporting a lasting peace,” Price pointed out.
Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry on Wednesday directly responded to Price and angrily rejected his statements regarding the Artsakh blockade.
“Dear State Department spokesperson, more than 1000 of vehicles bringing supply into the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan proves the opposite what you said on January 24,” Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry public information chief Aykhan Hajizada said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
“It would be appropriate to call on the Armenian side to fulfill obligations & stop illegal activities!,” added Hajizada in his direct hit at Price and the State Department.
During his press briefing, Price also discussed the need for Armenia and Azerbaijan to continue peace talks, saying the U.S. is hoping for direct dialogue that would lead “to a resolution of the issues that have long divided Armenia and Azerbaijan – and through that dialogue, hopefully reaching a lasting peace.”
“We’re continuing to engage in direct discussions with Armenia and Azerbaijan. We’re doing that bilaterally; we’re doing that with partners; we’re doing that through multilateral institutions. We’ve had an occasion to do that trilaterally a couple times last year as well. We are going to do what is most effective to bring about a resolution to these very thorny issues,” Price explained.