In a letter addressed to Pope Francis on December 22, Pashazade qualified the claims of the Catholicos of All Armenians about the closure of the road by Azerbaijanis as disinformation, noting that it was closed by Russian peacekeepers. According to him, the act of protest of civil society representatives is “peaceful and does not create obstacles” on the Goris-Stepanakert road.
“The claims of the Armenian side, particularly of Etchmiadzin, that the peaceful protest of eco-activists caused a humanitarian crisis are completely untrue, since the humanitarian corridor is functioning,” Pashazade said.
The latter also added that videos from the ground show that “ambulance vehicles, as well as vehicles carrying humanitarian cargo are moving freely on the road. A “hot line” for humanitarian issues has been created for Armenian residents of the Karabakh region to provide prompt solutions to their requests.”
No humanitarian corridor functioning
The claims of the head of the Caucasus Muslim Department, which literally repeat the official position of Baku, including the one expressed at the UN Security Council session, are false. FIP.am addressed them showing that only four passes of ambulance vehicles and humanitarian cargo through the corridor are known.
Hence, from December 12 to this day, the first case of vehicle traffic through the corridor became known on December 18, when a video actively circulating on Azerbaijani social networks and mass media showed how a convoy of Russian peacekeepers carrying humanitarian cargo was passing through the Lachin Corridor.
The other one was reported on December 19, when one of the severe patients from Stepanakert Republican Hospital was transferred to Yerevan by ambulance accompanied by the Red Cross. The third case of passing through the corridor was reported on December 24 when the 4-month-old child, who was in severe condition for days, was transferred to the specialized medical center of the Republic of Armenia accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The last, fourth case was on December 25, when only 10 tons of humanitarian cargo was transported from Armenia to Artsakh through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
It should be noted that before the corridor blockade, 400 tons of food and medicines were daily transported from Armenia to Artsakh.
It is also noteworthy that on December 22, a video was circulated showing that the Azerbaijanis did not even allow the convoy of peacekeepers to pass through the Lachin Corridor on December 21.
Along with this, the official Stepanakert states on a daily basis that the traffic in the corridor has not been restored, and Artsakh remains under complete blockade.
As already presented, in 2020 as per clause 6 of the statement of November 9, Lachin region came under the control of the Republic of Azerbaijan. However, the 5 km wide Lachin Corridor would remain under the control of the Russian peacekeeping troops, which should ensure the connection of Nagorno Karabakh with Armenia.
According to the same clause, Azerbaijan shall guarantee the safe movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo in both directions through the Lachin Corridor.
Humanitarian crisis in Artsakh
Contrary to the cleric’s claims that there is no humanitarian crisis in Artsakh, Hrach Avtandilyan, Head of State Commission Regulating Public Services and Economic Competition of the Republic of Artsakh, stated that there is a shortage of widely consumed foods, as well as important medicines are out of stock or on the verge of it. According to Artsakh information headquarters, the 15-day complete transport blockade poses a risk of6 shortage of food, medicine and fuel.
The thesis of tens of thousands of Armenians living in Azerbaijan
Pashazade also claimed that “more than 30,000 Armenians live in multicultural Azerbaijan, and the Armenian residents of Karabakh are also citizens of their country.”
Claims about the presence of thousands of Armenians in Azerbaijan are nothing new. FIP.am earlier addressed this topic manipulated by Azerbaijan presenting that there is no evidence substantiating these data.
According to the 2009 census in Azerbaijan, 120,306 Armenians live in that country. This number, however, is misleading as the Statistical Committee of Azerbaijan “counted” the population of Artsakh, which is outside the control of Azerbaijan. According to the same census, 120,089 Armenians live in the territory under the control of the Republic of Artsakh. In other words, according to the official data of Azerbaijan, only 217 Armenians live in Azerbaijan, about half of them, 104, live in the capital of Baku.
Before the beginning of the Artsakh conflict, several hundred thousand Armenians lived in Azerbaijan. According to 1979 Soviet census, 352,410 Armenians lived in Azerbaijan, excluding the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. About 216,000 of them were in Baku, 41,000 in Kirovabad (Ganja) and 14,000 in Sumgait.
Artsakh legislation permits operation of mines
Pashazade also referred to the demand of “environmentalists” noting that the reality is that gold and copper-molybdenum mines are illegally operated in Karabakh, and the “activists” of Azerbaijan demand to create conditions for monitoring these mines.
The authorities of Artsakh have always expressed their readiness to present to Azerbaijan and the international community all those measures and monitoring results within the framework of the national legislation that will prove that the operated mines do not cause any environmental risks.
On December 23, the President of Artsakh, Arayik Harutyunyan, presented the issue related to the request for a visit to the Kashen mine.
“…after blocking the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia for the first time on December 3, Azerbaijan, through Russian peacekeepers, conveyed written proposals to Artsakh authorities, which had very little to do with environmental issues and were completely unacceptable to Artsakh. Despite this, the Artsakh side showed a constructive approach, conveying to the Azerbaijani side through the peacekeepers the proposals under which they would be ready to allow environmentalists to visit the mine. Azerbaijan did not uphold to the agreements due to which they did not enter the mine. After that, they started a long-term blockade of the road,” Arayik Harutyunyan wrote.
Thus, the letter of Allahshukur Pashazade, the Head of the Caucasus Muslim Department, addressed to the Pope, contains many false and manipulative statements and completely duplicates the propaganda theses of the authorities of Azerbaijan.