Criticizing Armenia’s illegal activities in the region, Azerbaijan on Sunday pushed back on Canada urging it to reopen a corridor Armenia has been using to access Karabakh.
“Strongly reject the biased statement by Canada’s Foreign Ministry calling on Azerbaijan to reopen the Lachin road. Canada would better aid the peace process by calling (on) Armenia to end abusing Lachin road for illegal military and economic activities, incl. transferring & planting 2021-Armenia-produced landmines in Azerbaijan,” said Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry on Twitter.
Since Monday, Azerbaijani ecologists representing NGOs have been protesting Armenia’s illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Karabakh region, where Russian peacekeepers have been stationed since the aftermath of the fall 202 0 conflict in the region.
Last Sunday, Azerbaijan sent a diplomatic note to Russia concerning the "illegal exploitation" and mining of natural resources in the liberated Karabakh region, as its officials had been prevented from entering the area.
A ministry statement said illegal exploitation and looting of natural resources was observed, especially in the Kyzylbulag gold and Demirli copper-molybdenum mines.
The statement said negotiations were held between the two sides and an agreement was reached on Saturday, but still Azerbaijani officials were prevented from visiting the area.
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.
Since then, Russian peacekeeping troops have been deployed in the region.