Azerbaijan's MFA responds to statement of Chairman of Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers on the Lachin road

# 19 January 2023 17:35 (UTC +04:00)

The statement of Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and President of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir of January 19, failing to reflect the realities on the ground, regarding the situation around the Lachin, is regrettable, Ministry of Foreign Affairs told APA.

Such attitude to the peaceful protests on the Lachin road with the demand to prevent the illegal exploitation of Azerbaijan's mineral deposits, their illegal transportation to Armenia, and the abuse of the Lachin road, the use of which is intended only for humanitarian purposes, is incomprehensible. Protests against illegal economic and military activities on the territory of Azerbaijan are the right of Azerbaijani citizens and should be respected. Such statements do not contribute to peace in the region and lead to increased tensions.

As mentioned in the previous statements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the claims on the alleged closure of the Lachin road, and the creation of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in the region are unfounded. Over the past period, about 800 vehicles, including the convoys of the Russian peacekeeping contingent and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as the vehicles of the Armenian emergency medical services passing the road without any obstacles once again prove that the road is not closed. In addition, there are no barriers to the supply of goods or the provision of necessary medical services for the use of local residents. Also, as we have repeatedly stated, the government of Azerbaijan is ready to promptly resolve all humanitarian needs that Armenian residents may have. There are also indisputable facts about the attempts of people presenting themselves as representatives of Armenian residents to artificially create a humanitarian crisis by preventing Armenian residents from using the road.

The lack of response by the President of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to the miserable humanitarian situation of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis displaced from their homes, the war crimes of Armenia that clearly violated international humanitarian law, to landmine threats stemming from deployment of 2021 production landmines as a result of the abuse of the Lachin road in our territories, that resulted in 282 Azerbaijanis becoming victims of landmines after the Patriotic War, as well as to the other illegal activities raises questions. This is again indicative of double standards and of a selective approach.

We call on the President of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to be impartial and to refrain from actions and statements that would harm peace in the region.

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