Statement on establishment of the border checkpoint by the Republic of Azerbaijan at the starting point of the Lachin-Khankandi road
The Government of Azerbaijan, taking into account the continued systematic and large-scale misuse of the Lachin-Khankandi road for illicit purposes by the Armenian side contrary to the Trilateral Statement of November 10, 2020, and resulting security threats, took appropriate measures to establish control at the starting point of the road on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Over the past two and half years since the signing of the Trilateral Statement the Azerbaijani side has consistently called attention to large-scale abuse of the Lachin road by the 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.
Transportation of landmines through the Lachin road, followed by their subsequent planting on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan, has particularly grave consequences. Since August 2022, more than 2700 anti-personnel landmine produced in Armenia in 2021 have already been detected in the Lachin and Kalbajar districts of Azerbaijan. Evidently, those landmines have been transported to the territory of Azerbaijan through the Lachin road in a blatant violation of the Trilateral Statement. Just recently, on April 22, 2023, a military truck of Azerbaijan’s Army was exploded hitting a 2021-production-landmine planted by Armenians, with 3 of our servicemen injured. Since the end of the war 294 Azerbaijanis became the landmine victims.
Moreover, on April 22 surveillance cameras of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan recorded the entrance of to the territory of Azerbaijan of two military-purpose container houses and convoy of military vehicles of Armenia, contrary to the Trilateral statement, and the norms and principles of international law. Later, at the beginning of the Lachin-Khankendi road, the placement of military-purpose container houses and the construction of military infrastructure by Armenia were observed at the point closest to the territory of Azerbaijan.
In light of these threats and provocations, the establishment of 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.
Providing border security, as well as ensuring safe traffic on the road, is the prerogative of the Government of Azerbaijan, and an essential prerequisite for the national security, state sovereignty and rule of law.
In line with obligations of the Trilateral Statement, in the framework of this measure of security guarantee by the Republic of Azerbaijan for the movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo through the Lachin road, 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 said control mechanism shall be implemented in interaction with the Russian peacekeeping force.
The Azerbaijani side declares its readiness to cooperation with a view to ensuring safe and transparent control regime at the border with Armenia.