France asks Azerbaijan to restore traffic on a vital axis



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French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, traveling to Armenia, on Friday called on neighboring Azerbaijan to immediately restore “unhindered traffic along the Lachin corridor”, a vital route in the disputed enclave of Upper Karabakh.

From Armenia, the head of French diplomacy Catherine Colonna left no room for ambiguity on Friday, April 28, summoning Azerbaijan to immediately restore “traffic without hindering along the Lachin corridor”. This corridor constitutes a vital passage in the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Azerbaijani authorities must comply with the order of the International Court of Justice “who said the law”, she argued during a joint press conference with her Armenian counterpart, Ararat Mirzoian.

The French minister called for “respect” for the territorial integrity of Armenia, a historic ally of Paris. For his part, the Armenian minister stressed that traffic “must be restored as soon as possible”.

On Sunday April 23, Azerbaijan installed a roadblock at the entrance to the Lachin corridor, the only road axis dependent on Armenia to the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a first. Before that, Yerevan was already accusing Baku of blocking this vital route for almost six months.

A dam and tensions

The Azerbaijani authorities for their part justified their decision by “concerns of a security nature”. Baku “remains determined to take all measures at its disposal to guarantee the free movement of people, vehicles and goods on the Lachin road”, reaffirmed Deputy Foreign Minister Elnour Mammadov on Friday.

The installation of this roadblock by Baku represents an aggravation of the already very strong tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, with disputes dating back more than 30 years and which clashed during two wars, in the early 1990s and in 2020.

The French minister, who went Friday morning to the European observation mission based in Jermuk, came to Yerevan with the “objective of reaffirming France’s support for the government and the Armenian people”, she said. explain.

She stressed the need for Armenia and Azerbaijan to resume negotiations for a peace treaty. “We encourage you to take this path,” said the head of French diplomacy.

Paris is prepared to support this process “alongside the European Union and the United States, in liaison with the OSCE and the United Nations”, she also declared, acknowledging however that “this path is difficult”.

As during her press conference in Baku, she repeated that this is “the only way that will allow a just and lasting peace”.

Asked about his wish for negotiations under the aegis of the Europeans and the Americans or under that of Russia, the Armenian minister revealed that there was “no difference between the different platforms”. “The peace process is unique,” said Ararat Mirzoyan.

“We are grateful to all platforms,” he added as he was to travel to Washington for a trilateral with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.


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