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Russia urges Azerbaijan and Armenia to resume normalization efforts

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Russia urged Azerbaijan and Armenia to resume efforts to normalize relations, with the United Nations Supreme Court on Wednesday ordering Baku to end its alleged blockade in the Karabakh region.

“The Russian side is constantly contributing to the normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijan relations. The Russian Ministry of Defense and the Russian peacekeeping contingent, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are making unremitting efforts to settle the situation around the Lachin corridor,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said at a press conference.

“We call on our partners in Baku and Yerevan to resume harmonious joint work as soon as possible in every aspect of the normalization of bilateral relations,” he added.

Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been under Armenian occupation since 1991. In 2020, Azerbaijan regained territory in and around the enclave after a second war ended in a Russian-brokered ceasefire. Since then, talks have continued to normalize relations between Baku and Yerevan.

Azerbaijani environmental activists have been holding protests since December 12 over the Lachin Pass, the only road through Azerbaijan that connects Armenia with Karabakh and where Russian peacekeepers guard.

Yerevan says the protesters are supported by the government, but Baku denies blocking the road.

But the International Court of Justice ordered an end to the blockade.

“Pending the final decision in this case… Azerbaijan should take all measures at its disposal to ensure that the movement of people, vehicles and goods along the Lachin Corridor is not impeded in both directions,” presiding judge Joanne Donoghue said on Wednesday.

“The turmoil in the Lachin corridor impeded the transportation of people of Armenian national and ethnic origin,” it said in a judgment delivered at the court’s seat in The Hague.

Judge Donoghue said evidence presented during a court hearing last month showed barriers to importing essential goods into Nagorno-Karabakh, “causing shortages of food, medicine and other life-saving medical supplies.”

Therefore, the court concluded that there was urgency and that there was “a risk of irreparable bias,” the judge said.

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