Blinken Welcomes Aid Delivery
The International Committee of the Red Cross on Monday delivered humanitarian assistance to Artsakh via the Lachin Corridor and the road from Aghdam connecting to Stepanakert.
The Artsakh authorities on Sunday announced that given the gravity of the humanitarian situation they agreed to deliveries of the aid from Lachin and Aghdam by the ICRC and the Russian peacekeepers, the Artsakh InfoCenter said.
“The crisis resulting from the Azerbaijani blockade of Artsakh is deteriorating day by day. The government is organizing the process of obtaining grain and supplying flour to bread bakeries in scarce conditions, and unfortunately, it’s not always possible to ensure the 200 gram of bread envisioned daily for every citizen by the ration stamp system. Taking into consideration the deteriorating disaster and security situation in the country, the authorities of the Republic of Artsakh have made a decision to accept the joint proposal of the International Committee of the Red Cross Stepanakert office and the Russian peacekeeping contingent’s command on simultaneous shipment of humanitarian goods along the Berdzor [Lachin] corridor through the Goris-Stepanakert highway and the Akna [Aghdam]-Stepanakert road by ICRC vehicles (goods of foreign origin),” the ArtsakhInfo Center said.
“Organizing this process is necessary both for eliminating the threats facing the lives and health of our citizens, as well as for ensuring the future transport of humanitarian goods along Berdzor corridor,” the Nagorno-Karabakh InfoCenter said in a statement.
This decision does not mean that Azerbaijan has lifted its blockade of the Lachin Corridor to ensure unimpeded movement on the road, as envisioned by the November 9, 2020 agreement.
The shipments were made possible “as a result of persistent diplomatic efforts to find a humanitarian consensus between the decision-makers,” the ICRC said in a statement on Monday.
“We are extremely relieved that many people reliant on humanitarian aid will finally receive much needed support in the coming days,” said Ariane Bauer, ICRC’s regional director for Europe and Central Asia. “Health structures are lacking medical supplies. People are queuing hours for bread. They urgently need sustained relief through regular humanitarian shipments. This consensus has allowed our teams to resume this life-saving work.”
The ICRC said it has been in talks over the last weeks with decision-makers about options to get aid into the area via different routes, including both the Lachin Corridor and Aghdam road.
The United States welcomed the delivery of assistance to Artsakh.
“We welcome today’s simultaneous shipment of humanitarian goods along the Lachin corridor and the Aghdam roadway into Nagorno-Karabakh, an approach President Aliyev and I recently discussed. These deliveries of critically needed supplies are an important step forward, and we encourage the sides to engage in direct talks and focus on ways to increase the flow of humanitarian supplies to the population of the region. The United States remains committed to supporting efforts between Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve long-standing issues and achieve a dignified and durable peace,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement on Monday.
Monday’s operation included two trucks which simultaneously delivered goods via both the Lachin Corridor and Aghdam road.
“I hope that this consensus allows for our strictly humanitarian convoys to resume not just today but in the weeks to come so that we can regularly get aid to those who need it. Our aim is to reach those most in need of assistance in line with our fundamental principles of neutrality, impartiality, and independence,” Bauer added.
The ICRC will deliver more humanitarian aid to Nagorno-Karabakh from Russia’s Rostov region, the Artsakh InfoCenter reported on Monday.
“On September 18, based on an agreement reached with the International Committee of the Red Cross Stepanakert office and the command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Artsakh, approximately 23 tons of flour of Armenian production was delivered to Stepanakert along the Goris-Stepanakert highway through Berdzor [Lachin] corridor, and medical and personal hygiene products of Russian and Swiss production were delivered along the Akna [Aghdam]-Stepanakert road, which will be handed over to the respective ministries to be used as needed after passing an analysis. We are also informing that another delivery of goods is planned to take place from the Russian city of Rostov in a few days in the same directions, by ICRC vehicles,” the InfoCenter added in a statement.