UN mission called for
Armenia fears ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh
September 24, 2023, 3:51 a.m
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Armenia is deeply concerned about the future of ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. During the UN general debate, the country’s foreign minister pushed for observers to be sent to the area. Meanwhile, Russia is monitoring the disarmament of the defeated fighters.
After Azerbaijan’s military victory in the Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia has called for a UN mission to secure the Armenian population. The United Nations must immediately send troops to “monitor and assess the human rights and security situation on the ground,” said Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirsoyan at the UN general debate in New York. Azerbaijan’s chief diplomat, Jihun Bayramov, emphasized Baku’s willingness to treat the Armenian population as equal citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of planning ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh. The area belongs to Azerbaijan under international law, but is predominantly inhabited by Armenians. 120,000 ethnic Armenians call the region home. In his speech at the UN general debate, Armenian Foreign Minister Mirsoyan drew a parallel to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. As a result, the United Nations had created prevention mechanisms to prevent a similar crime. Today the world is “on the verge of another failure” in Nagorno-Karabakh, Mirsoyan said.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Bayramov said in his speech at the general debate that Muslim-majority Azerbaijan would respect the rights of Christian Armenians. His country is “determined to reintegrate the Armenian residents of the Karabakh region into Azerbaijan as equal citizens.” Baku sees a “historic opportunity” for Azerbaijan and Armenia to create “good neighborly relations.”
In the meantime, the agreed disarmament of the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh is said to have begun. Under the control of Russian peacekeepers, Armenian fighters handed over more than 800 firearms, 5,000 rounds of ammunition and six armored vehicles to Azerbaijan, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said. Russia also announced that the first aid deliveries had arrived in Nagorno-Karabakh. Russia delivered more than 50 tons of food and other relief supplies. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it provided tens of thousands of diapers as well as blankets and fuel. A Reuters reporter observed a Red Cross convoy approaching the border with Azerbaijan near the Armenian town of Kornidzor on Saturday. Foreign observers cannot currently travel to Nagorno-Karabakh itself.
Meanwhile, in New York, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Armenia of “adding fuel to the fire every now and then” with regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Referring to a senior Armenian politician who accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of handing over Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan, Lavrov said the accusation was “ridiculous.” With the Alma-Ata Declaration signed shortly before the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, Nagorno-Karabakh “simply” became part of Azerbaijan, Lavrov said.