Azerbaijan Denies Deal Reached to Reopen Karabakh-Armenia Road

Hikmet Hajiev, a foreign policy advisor to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, on Saturday denied that Baku had reached a deal with the breakaway province of Nagorno-Karabakh to simultaneously reopen roads to Azerbaijan and Armenia.

In a message posted on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Hajiev said that Baku had offered to simultaneously reopen the roads but that what he called the “illegal regime” in Karabakh had refused. 

Hajiev said that Azerbaijan would maintain “border and customs” control on the Lachin corridor, which links Karabakh to Armenia. He said that the road to Azerbaijan would open for aid shipments for the first time since 1988, a key demand of Baku’s.

Karabakh, which broke away from Baku after a war that spanned the collapse of the Soviet Union, is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but its 120,000 population is overwhelmingly ethnically Armenian.

Azerbaijani retook large amounts of ground in a 2020 war, leaving Karabakh almost entirely surrounded. In December 2022, Azerbaijani civilians began blockading the last road linking Karabakh to Armenia, causing acute shortages of food, fuel and medicine.

Armenian state news agency Armenpress reported on Saturday that Karabakh officials had bowed to Baku’s demands to reopen the long-closed road to Azerbaijan in return for lifting the blockade on the Lachin corridor.

Armenpress cited Karabakh officials as saying they had agreed to the deal in view of “severe humanitarian problems” in the region.

At the time, Hajiev confirmed to Reuters that the Karabakh authorities had agreed to allow aid shipments from Azerbaijan to enter the territory in return for reopening the road to Armenia.

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