While the disarmament of pro-Armenian fighters has begun in Nagorno-Karabakh, concerns about protecting the Armenian population in the region are growing. In New York, Armenia’s foreign minister called for a UN mission to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia has called for a UN mission to secure the Armenian population following Azerbaijan’s military victory in the Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh. 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.
Mirzoyan accused the United Nations of inaction. The “truly devastating developments” in the region have shown that the problems “cannot be solved through statements and general calls alone,” said Mirsoyan. A UN mission must be sent to Nagorno-Karabakh immediately to monitor the human rights, humanitarian and security situation.
In his speech at the UN general debate, 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.
Disarmament of pro-Armenian fighters began
Nagorno-Karabakh is located on Azerbaijani territory, but is predominantly inhabited by Armenians and has long been contested between the two ex-Soviet republics. Last Tuesday, Azerbaijan launched a military operation to conquer the region. Just a day later, the defeated Karabakh Armenians surrendered.
On Saturday, the Azerbaijani army confirmed that it had begun disarming pro-Armenian fighters in Nagorno-Karabakh. “Weapons and ammunition have already been confiscated,” said army spokesman Anar Eywasov in the city of Shusha, south of the regional capital Stepanakert. The Azerbaijani army is working “closely with the Russian peacekeepers.”
Azerbaijan: are considered Armenians “equals “Citizens”.
At the UN general debate, Azerbaijani chief diplomat Djihun Bayramov emphasized Baku’s will to treat the Armenian population as equal citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh. Bayramov said Muslim-majority Azerbaijan would respect the rights of Christian Armenians. Baku sees a “historic opportunity” for Azerbaijan and Armenia to create “good neighborly relations.”
Discontent with Russia
Many Armenians accuse their traditional protective power, Russia, which has also stationed its own soldiers on site, of having abandoned them. According to Armenian sources, more than 200 people died during the brief fighting and more than 400 others were injured. Tens of thousands of Armenian civilians in the region now fear being displaced or oppressed by the new Azerbaijani rulers.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, for his part, accused Armenia of “every now and then adding fuel to the fire.” 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.
Aid convoy reaches region
Meanwhile, the first aid convoy since the end of the fighting reached the conflict region on Saturday. According to media reports, trucks from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) passed through the Armenian border post of Kornidzor. The vehicles loaded with “70 tons of relief supplies” had “passed through the Lachin corridor” and were bringing people “mainly humanitarian goods and food,” local ICRC spokeswoman Zara Amatuni told the AFP news agency.
The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and the humanitarian care for the local people had recently caused international concern. Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for a security guarantee for the region’s predominantly Armenian residents. US officials accused the authoritarian leadership of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev of bringing about “a humanitarian catastrophe in Nagorno-Karabakh.”