UN Court Orders Azerbaijan To Unblock Lachin Corridor Amid Armenian Accusations Of 'Ethnic Cleansing' | Land Portal

Main photo: The Lachin Corridor has been blocked since mid-December by Azerbaijani protesters claiming to be environmental activists and seemingly acting with official Azerbaijani support. (file photo)

The UN's top court has ordered Azerbaijan to allow free passage through the Lachin Corridor, which extends between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, a part of Azerbaijan clawed back from ethnic Armenians in 2020 in a six-week intensification of a decades-old conflict between the post-Soviet foes.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in favor of Yerevan's appeal to the court last month to unblock Armenians' only land route to the territory.

It has been blocked since mid-December by Azerbaijani protesters claiming to be environmental activists and seemingly acting with official Azerbaijani support.

Baku officials deny that they are behind the blockade.

In the ICJ ruling, the court cited "shortages of food, medicines, and other life-saving medical supplies" that effectively deprived ethnic Armenians in the area of crucial care.

Baku must "take all measures at its disposal to ensure the unimpeded movement of persons, vehicles, and cargo along the Lachin Corridor in both directions," the court said.

Yerevan has described the blockade as an effort at "ethnic cleansing."

The Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders said after a meeting at the Munich Security Conference on February 18 that some progress had been made toward peace between their two Caucasus nations during trilateral talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, but they made clear that much work still needed to be done.

The Munich face-to-face was the first meeting between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian since October.

At the meeting, Pashinian cited "Azerbaijan's illegal blockade of the Lachin Corridor and the resulting humanitarian, environmental, and energy crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh."

During a six-week war in 2020 following occasional skirmishes in a decades-old occupation and "frozen conflict," Azerbaijan regained control of much of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territories held by Armenian forces. More than 6,500 people died in the fighting, which was ended by a Russian-brokered peace agreement.

The blocking of the Lachin Corridor has led to sometimes tense standoffs between the protesting Azerbaijanis and Russian troops who are stationed there as part of the 2020 Russian-brokered deal.

Russia and the European Union and its allies have conducted mediation efforts between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

With additional reporting by Reuters

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