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Red Cross Denies Smuggling Allegations, Azerbaijan Launches Criminal Case Against the Red Cross

Red Cross Denies Smuggling Allegations, Azerbaijan Launches Criminal Case Against the Red Cross

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has vehemently denied allegations of smuggling made by Azerbaijan, following a recent incident involving the blockage of the Red Cross's access to the Lachin Corridor. In an official announcement, the Red Cross clarified that no unauthorized material has been discovered in any vehicles belonging to the organization.

Azerbaijan's decision to once again block the entrance of the Red Cross to the strategically significant Lachin Corridor has raised concerns. This time, Baku has accused the international humanitarian organization of engaging in smuggling activities. The border guard service of Azerbaijan claims that the discovery of cigarettes and mobile phones in cars belonging to the Red Cross amounts to a manifestation of smuggling. In response, Azerbaijan has initiated a criminal case against the organization.

In a statement, the ICRC addressed the allegations and emphasized its commitment to adhering strictly to humanitarian principles. "The ICRC is aware of concerns raised about the transport of unauthorized goods across the Lachin Corridor and does not support any such activity. No unauthorized material has been found in any vehicle belonging to ICRC. All cargo is subject to customs checks by the Republic of Azerbaijan," the statement clarified.

The Red Cross acknowledged a regrettable incident involving four hired drivers who attempted to transport commercial goods using their personal vehicles temporarily displaying the ICRC emblem. These individuals were not affiliated with the ICRC and were immediately relieved of their duties by the organization.

The ICRC further underscored its unwavering humanitarian focus along the Lachin Corridor, emphasizing the vital role it plays in facilitating essential aid. The organization's efforts have enabled the evacuation of over 600 patients for medical care, as well as the delivery of medical supplies, food, baby formula, and other essentials to healthcare facilities and families in need.

Amidst the unfolding dispute, the ICRC stressed the importance of maintaining its humanitarian mission. "Our work along the Lachin corridor is always strictly humanitarian. This essential work, which has allowed more than 600 patients to be evacuated for medical care and for medical supplies, food, baby formula and other essentials to reach health care facilities and families, must be allowed to continue. This work is always done with the agreement of the sides and makes a difference to the lives of thousands of people," the Committee reiterated.

The ICRC's commitment to providing essential aid and ensuring the well-being of the region's inhabitants remains resolute, underscoring the organization's dedication to its humanitarian mandate.


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