Azerbaijan and Armenia have reached an agreement to reopen two disputed transport links in Nagorno-Karabakh, a region that has been the subject of a decades-long conflict between the two countries.
The deal includes the restoration of the Lachin corridor, a vital road that connects the Armenian-populated parts of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, and the opening of a new route for Russian humanitarian aid through the town of Askeran.
The Lachin corridor has been under pressure from Azerbaijan since it recaptured large swathes of Nagorno-Karabakh in a 2020 war that ended with a ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia. The agreement guaranteed the free use of the road under the supervision of Russian peacekeepers, but Azerbaijan accused Armenia of using it to smuggle weapons and rejected an offer to reopen the roads simultaneously.
For close to two months, aid organizations including the International Red Cross have said they have been unable to transport supplies of food and fuel into Nagorno-Karabakh, creating a humanitarian crisis for the local Armenians. Luis Moreno Ocampo, the former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, issued a report last month warning that a “genocide” was under way.
Both the U.S. and the EU have urged Azerbaijan to reopen the Lachin corridor and respect the ceasefire agreement. The U.S. State Department said on Thursday that it was “seriously concerned” about the worsening humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and insisted on the immediate reopening of the corridor.