US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Monday urged Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev to immediately reopen the Lachin Corridor to commercial traffic in an effort to reach a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The corridor has been blocked by Azerbaijani protestors since December 12, 2022.
During a phone call with Aliyev, Blinken pressed that the reopening of the corridor is key to peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The reopening would allow for supplies from Armenia to reach the ethnic Armenians in the area. Blinken pressed in the phone call with Aliyev that the blockage risks humanitarian crisis that undermines prospects for peace between the two nations.
The Lachin Corridor is the sole road connecting the ethnic Armenian region in Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh, with Armenia. With the blockage, residents from Nagorno-Karabakh cannot leave the region, and essential goods are unable to get through to either region.
According to Human Rights Watch, the protestors blocking the corridor demand access to mining sites in the areas under control of the de facto ethnic Armenian authorities. Protestors claim that such authorities are illegally exploiting the mine deposits and using the Lachin Corridor to transport the mined goods to Armenia.