UN mission on Lachin corridor only possible with consent of Azerbaijan, Armenia, says Russia - ednews.net

26 March,

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UN mission on Lachin corridor only possible with consent of Azerbaijan, Armenia, says Russia

UN peacekeeping mission on key route connecting Armenia, Karabakh region of Azerbaijan 'hardly realistic,' says senior Russian diplomat

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The UN can only deploy peacekeepers along the key Lachin corridor connecting Armenia with the Karabakh region in Azerbaijan with the consent of both Yerevan and Baku, a senior Russian diplomat said on Wednesday.
In an interview with the Russian state-run RIA news agency, Petr Ilyichev underlined that Russian peacekeepers were already working to restore peace and security in Karabakh.
"The activities of Russian peacekeepers are supported both in Baku and in Yerevan, which is of key importance in the conditions of uncertainty of the final status of the territory," said Ilyichev, who directs the Department of International Organizations of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Among international and foreign organizations, only the International Committee of the Red Cross is working in Karabakh, while other bodies could not "maintain an equidistant position with the parties," he added.
"In these conditions of the lack of progress in establishing even international humanitarian assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh, the practical implementation of the idea of sending an international peacekeeping contingent, which will also require UN Security Council sanctions, is hardly realistic," he said.
Ilyichev noted that UN missions did not always enjoy the trust of receiving countries, with some asking them to withdraw due to low efficiency.
"Therefore, the question is not so much who authorized the peacekeeping operation, but rather the presence of goodwill on both sides of the conflict in ending it and eliminating its consequences," he said.
Since Dec. 12, Azerbaijani ecologists representing nongovernmental organizations had been protesting Armenia's illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Karabakh region, where Russian peacekeepers have been stationed since the end of the fall 2020 conflict and a January 2021 pact with Azerbaijan and Armenia.
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.
- Black Sea grain initiative
On the Black Sea grain deal, signed last year to avert a global food crisis by allowing for the export of Ukrainian grain, Ilyichev said Moscow had "requalified" it as a commercial initiative, rather than humanitarian.
Arguing that the initiative had upended its initially stated humanitarian goals and now amounted to the "commercial export of Ukrainian grain," he said the cargo primarily went to high-income countries, while poor nations got less than 3%.
Parts of the deal that suggest sanctions on Russian grain and fertilizer exports be lifted, have meanwhile been ignored, he said with additional restrictions have been imposed by the EU.
Without hard results on alleviating the restrictions on Russian agricultural products, the deal, which ends in March, "becomes meaningless," he stressed.
Turning to initiatives to lift sanctions on North Korea, Ilyichev said they met the resistance of Western countries, which reject the idea of weakening pressure on Pyongyang.
Russia will continue its efforts to free North Korea from sanctions, including by forming global public opinion against sanctions in general as a useless tool, he said.
On recent decisions by the US not to issue visas to foreign UN diplomats and in some cases expelling them from its borders, the Russian official said Washington was "making us increasingly doubt the validity of their right to retain the status of the host state of the UN headquarters."​​​​​​​
At the same time, relocation of the international organization would mean significant financial expenses for all UN members, making them reluctant to approve such a "radical step," he added.
Asked about Switzerland as a possible replacement, Ilyichev said the county was distancing itself from its constitutionally enshrined neutrality.
He stressed that Moscow would continue trying to get UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to launch arbitration proceedings against the US.

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