Efforts to focus international attention on the encroachments on the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh should be continued: Pashinyan
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addressed the situation in the Lachin Corridor at the beginning of the Cabinet meeting. In his speech, the Prime Minister, in particular, noted:
"Dear participants of the Cabinet meeting,
About 6,000 students of pre-school institutions, about 19,000 students of public schools, and about 6,800 students of universities of Nagorno-Karabakh have been deprived of one of the most vital rights of the 21st century, the right to education, for a month already, because kindergartens, schools, and universities in Nagorno-Karabakh have been closed already for a month. The last time something like this happened was during the 44-day war, while in a situation when the cannons were not firing, educational institutions were closed only because of the coronavirus pandemic. This time, however, the reason for the shutdown of educational institutions is not the COVID-19 virus, but Azerbaijan's "environmental" concerns.
Closing the Lachin Corridor was not enough for Azerbaijan, it also closes the gas pipeline feeding Nagorno-Karabakh, then opens it by 10 percent, then closes it again, then opens it by, say, 25 percent, and so on. Azerbaijan also continuously uses the tool of gas pressure, which is obviously reprehensible.
The next reason for the non-working of kindergartens is the lack of prescribed food for children. This, in turn, is connected with the closure of the Lachin Corridor.
The road of life of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Lachin Corridor, which was defined by the tripartite declaration of November 9, 2020 and written guarantees were given by the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation for the uninterrupted operation of which, has been closed for 46 days. And as I mentioned above, normal life in Nagorno-Karabakh has been disrupted for 46 days, and the humanitarian crisis is deepening in full swing.
In Nagorno-Karabakh, frequent power outages take place, because Azerbaijan has also disrupted the work of power lines supplying Nagorno-Karabakh, and the population is supplied with electricity only at the expense of the production capacity of local power plants, which is not enough. Basic necessities are supplied to the population through a voucher system.
As I said before, with all this, the government of Azerbaijan pursues one goal: to break the will of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to live in their homeland. Moreover, according to the information we have, Baku's plan is as follows: to bring the economic and psychological pressure in Nagorno-Karabakh to a certain culmination point, after that to open the corridor for a few days with the expectation that the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh will leave their homes en masse, to close the corridor again and then open again for a few days and so on until the last Armenian leaves Nagorno-Karabakh. This is, of course, a blatant policy of ethnic cleansing. And I must record that if until now the international community was skeptical about our alarms about Azerbaijan's intentions to subject the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to ethnic cleansing, now we already see that this perception is slowly but steadily growing stronger among the international community.
I think, in this regard, the video of Azerbaijani masked "environmental activists" terrorizing the children returning to Nagorno Karabakh accompanied by peacekeepers on January 17, which was shared by the Azerbaijanis themselves and which was widely distributed around the world, had some role.
But deporting the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh from their homes is not the only goal of Azerbaijan. With these provocative actions, Azerbaijan also aims to disrupt the peace agenda, the peace process and incite a new war in the region.
It is clear, of course, that we take emotionally the closing of the Lachin Corridor and the humanitarian crisis created in Nagorno-Karabakh. But I must once again emphasize the need for restraint in this situation and the exclusion of lexicon and actions that are contrary to the peace agenda, especially by the representatives of the state authorities.
We remain consistent in our efforts to promote the peace agenda and no provocation should be able to deviate us from this agenda. At the same time, I must emphasize that we must continue our joint efforts, by joint I mean the government, the opposition, civil society, Armenian and Diaspora individuals and organizations, to focus international attention on the encroachments on the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.
I also want to thank the countries and organizations that respond to the situation objectively and impartially, relying on human rights and international obligations of the countries.
Please note that Azerbaijan has been trying to convince the international community for a long time that the Lachin Corridor is not closed at all, that the gas and electricity supply to Nagorno Karabakh has not been stopped. First, obviously, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh claim the opposite. I think the best way to de jure resolve this controversy is to send an international fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh and Lachin Corridor, and we should consistently work in this direction.
And, in general, there is no alternative to the peaceful settlement of all existing problems in our region, and we will be guided by this very logic, even thogh we understand all the difficulties and complications.
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