(Bloomberg) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross began delivering food and medicines to the Nagorno-Karabakh region that’s at the center of a conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, effectively ending a three-month blockade that caused international alarm.
Azerbaijani TV channels on Monday showed an ICRC aid truck cross a checkpoint into Nagorno-Karabakh via the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting the region to Armenia. The route has been largely blocked since December by Azerbaijan and the last humanitarian aid was delivered via Lachin on June 15.
Another truck entered the region along a road from the Azerbaijani town of Agdam, east of Nagorno-Karabakh, after Armenian officials in the territory apparently agreed to accept the delivery. Opening the road had been a key demand of Azerbaijan in return for restoring access along the Lachin corridor.
The ICRC said in a statement the deliveries were taking place as “a result of persistent diplomatic efforts to find a humanitarian consensus between the decision-makers,” without providing further details. It was unclear if more aid deliveries along the routes have been agreed.
There was no immediate comment from Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan had faced mounting pressure from the US and the European Union to reopen the Lachin corridor amid rising military tensions along the border with Armenia. The authorities in Baku denied imposing a blockade, though more than 30 trucks from Armenia loaded with aid supplies were held up at the border, some for two months.
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Thousands died in a 2020 war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the region that’s been at the center of a territorial dispute between the two sides for decades following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
Nagorno-Karabakh has a largely Armenian population, which controlled the region for about three decades until Baku reclaimed part of the territory and seven surrounding districts in the war. It is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
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“We are extremely relieved that many people reliant on humanitarian aid will finally receive much needed support in the coming days,” Ariane Bauer, ICRC’s regional director for Europe and Central Asia, said in the statement.
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