Azerbaijan on Sunday announced that it established a border control point at the starting point of the Lachin-Khankendi road, Anadolu reports.
Over the past two and half years since the signing of the January 2021 Trilateral Statement among Azerbaijan, Russia, and Armenia, the Azerbaijani side has consistently called attention to large-scale abuse of the Lachin road by Armenia.
“This includes the rotation of personnel of Armenian armed forces that continue to be illegally stationed in the territory of Azerbaijan, the transfer of weapons and ammunition, entrance of terrorists, as well as illicit trafficking of natural resources and cultural property,” a statement by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry read.
The statement said the road has been used for the transportation of landmines, which has resulted in “grave consequences,” most recently in a mine explosion that injured three Azerbaijani servicemen.
“Moreover, on April 22, surveillance cameras of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan recorded the entrance into the territory of Azerbaijan of two military-purpose container houses and a convoy of military vehicles of Armenia, contrary to the Trilateral Statement, and the norms and principles of international law,” the statement further said.
The placement of military-purpose container houses and the construction of military infrastructure by Armenia at the beginning of the Lachin-Khankendi road were observed, it added.
“In light of these threats and provocations, the establishment of a border control mechanism at the starting point of the Lachin road will serve to transparency over the movement along the road, the rule of law, and thus, ensure the security and safety of the movement,” the statement said.
Proper conditions will be ensured for “the transparent and regulated passage of Armenian residents living in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan from this checkpoint to Armenia and Azerbaijan in both directions,” the statement noted, adding that the said control mechanism shall be implemented in interaction with Russian peacekeeping forces.
“The Azerbaijani side declares its readiness to cooperate with a view to ensuring safe and transparent control regime at the border with Armenia,” it concluded.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
In the fall of 2020, in 44 days of clashes, Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages and settlements from Armenian occupation. The Russian-brokered peace agreement is celebrated as a triumph in Azerbaijan.