On Tuesday, a truck from the Russian Red Crescent Society arrived in Khankendi, carrying food and non-food products for the Armenian residents living in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.
The delivery had been stalled for two days in the Barda district of Azerbaijan since September 9 due to the reluctance of the Armenian residents to accept it. The truck set off from Aghdam to Khankendi under the terms of a cooperation memorandum signed by the Russian Red Cross Society and the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society.
“The cargo reached Khankendi. The food and non-food products have been unloaded to a warehouse,” Jeyhun Mirzayev, Secretary-General of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society, told reporters on Tuesday.
According to media reports, the cargo consists of 1,000 food sets, 270 sets of bedding, 200 hygiene packages, and 192 sets for children.
The cargo was transported along the Aghdam-Khankendi road, which had been shut down in the early 1990s when Armenia waged a war against Azerbaijan, resulting in the occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijan's sovereign territory.
In the meantime, 40 tons of flour and flour products supplied by the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society to meet the needs of Armenians had been stranded in Aghdam since August 29. The Armenian residents had been refusing to allow its entry into Khankendi. Representatives of the Society and members of the temporary Russian peacekeeping mission had been negotiating the terms to facilitate the shipment of this cargo.
The proposal to use the Aghdam-Khankendi road for the transportation of goods to the Karabakh region was presented by Azerbaijani authorities after multiple illegal shipments were discovered on the Lachin road, the route connecting the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan with Armenia.
However, the Armenians in the Karabakh region and Yerevan rejected the proposal, insisting on the use of the Lachin road while simultaneously blocking the Aghdam-Khankendi road.
In July, President Ilham Aliyev stated that the so-called "leadership" of Armenians in the Karabakh region had intentionally placed concrete barriers on the Aghdam-Asgaran section of the Aghdam-Khankendi road.
Approximately 25,000 Armenians reside in certain parts of the Karabakh region, monitored by a temporary Russian peacekeeping mission. Following the war, the Azerbaijani government expressed its willingness to reintegrate these individuals into Azerbaijani society in accordance with the Constitution and laws of Azerbaijan.
On March 1, Azerbaijani officials met with representatives of Armenians residing in the Karabakh region to initiate discussions on their reintegration into Azerbaijani society. In late March, Azerbaijani authorities extended an invitation to the representatives of Karabakh Armenians to visit Baku for a second meeting.
However, a group of separatists in the Karabakh region and certain political groups in Armenia sought to disrupt the process. They have been advocating for a "status" for the region's Armenian residents and demanding "independence" from Azerbaijan.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated during a trilateral meeting with his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts in July that guarantees of the rights and security of Armenians living in Karabakh should be addressed in the context of ensuring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
“The Armenian side understands the need to convince the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh [Karabakh] for early meetings with Azerbaijani representatives to agree on the rights arising from the relevant legislation and from international obligations [of Azerbaijan], including numerous conventions on ensuring the rights of national minorities,” Kommersant quoted Lavrov as saying.