Azerbaijan Targets EU Observers in Armenia Before UN Security Council Meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijan Targets EU Observers in Armenia Before UN Security Council Meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijan Firing at Representatives of EU Observers in Armenia Prior to the UN Security Council Emergency Meeting on the Nagorno-Karabakh Blockade

STEPANAKERT, REPUBLIC OF ARTSAKH, August 16, 2023/ — Azerbaijan Firing at Representatives of EU Observers in Armenia Prior to the UN Security Council Emergency Meeting on the Nagorno-Karabakh Blockade

Today, the United Nations Security Council will be holding an emergency meeting in response to the appeal by Armenia saying that Nagorno-Karabakh is facing a full-fledged humanitarian catastrophe due to an unlawful blockade imposed by Azerbaijan. As a result, over 120,000 people of Nagorno-Karabakh have endured over eight months without unimpeded access to necessities such as food, medication, other essential goods, gas and electricity, while for already two months those people are under total siege without any supplies. This situation has led to documented cases of starvation and sharp increase of mortality rates there.

On the eve of the discussion in the UN SC, Azerbaijan is trying to escalate tensions in the region aiming to divert the international attention away from the illegal closure of the Lachin corridor. Yesterday the Azerbaijani Armed forces discharged fire targeting the representatives of EU observer mission in Armenia (EUMA) patrolling near Verin Shorzha and their vehicle. This occurred the day after the European Union Mission in Armenia officially denied the Azerbaijani disinformation concerning the concentration of Armenian Armed Forces on the border. It is important to remember that a mere two months ago, the Azerbaijani Ambassador to the European Union in his Twitter microblog issued threats of violence against members of the delegation of the European Parliament, who had visited the Armenian border area, urging them to stay away from the border with Azerbaijan.

The presence of both European officials and the EU observation mission poses obstacles for Azerbaijani aggressive policy, as they document the country’s provocations and even have directly countered Azerbaijani disinformation. By escalating the situation, Baku aims to discredit the EU mission, which it opposed from the outset, and, ultimately, to derail the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the Western platforms.

Azerbaijan employs various means, including official statements and an increasingly active propaganda machinery, to undermine the credibility of specific international actors engaged in mediation efforts. In the first place, of course, is France, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, which has unreservedly addressed concerns about the unlawful closure of the Lachin corridor and the escalation of the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh. Moreover, Azerbaijan accuses France of “deliberately increasing tensions in the region”. The accusations have grown more serious after the French Foreign Minister expressed support for Armenia during a telephone conversation with the Armenian Foreign Minister prior to the UN Security Council meeting.

At the same time, Azerbaijan expresses confidence that a decision within the Security Council will be unattainable, and “promises” that any resolution passed by the UN will not force Baku to change its tactics. Moreover, Azerbaijan has been consistently disregarding international commitments made by the leaders of Armenia, Russia, and Azerbaijan in the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020, the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights of December 21, 2022, as well as the orders of the International Court of Justice of February 22 and July 6, 2023. It has been carrying out provocations accompanied by aggressive militaristic rhetoric. Rather than contributing to the establishment of confidence-building mechanisms, Azerbaijan continues to engage in grave international crimes and provocations, undermining the negotiation process and frame the UN Security Council discussion as an obstacle to negotiations.

In fact, the UN Security Council discussion could yield a range of outcomes: from dispatching a fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh and delivering humanitarian aid, to adopting a resolution that compels Azerbaijan to adhere to the decisions of the International Court of Justice.

Last week, Luis Moreno Ocampo, the former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, released an impartial report on Azerbaijan’s imposed blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh. The report concluded that the ongoing situation constitutes genocide according to Article II of the Genocide Convention: “(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” Ocampo emphasized that “Starvation is the invisible Genocide weapon. Without immediate dramatic change, this group of Armenians will be destroyed in a few weeks.”

Hence, the EU can and must stop this genocide utilizing its influential levers over Azerbaijan to save the indigenous people of Nagorno-Karabakh and to protect human rights worldwide.

Hagop Ipdjian
Unblock Humanity
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