Armenia, Azerbaijan clash at UN over Karabakh violence
Armenia and Azerbaijan clashed Thursday at the United Nations on the heels of a swift military victory in Nagorno-Karabakh by Baku, which heard calls from Western nations led by France to provide safety guarantees.
France called for the urgent meeting of the UN Security Council after Azerbaijani forces on Tuesday pressed into the mountainous territory, which is dominated by ethnic Armenians and had been run by separatists since the 1990s.
Speaking at the meeting, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan called on the world no longer to speak in terms of “two sides.”
“There are no more sides of the conflict, but perpetrators and victims. There is no more conflict, but the real danger of atrocity,” he said.
“Literally the whole territory of Nagorno-Karabakh came under intense, indiscriminate shelling with use of missiles, heavy artillery, including prohibited clusters munitions,” he said.
“The intensity and cruelty of the offensive makes it clear that the intention is to finalize ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population,” he said.
Ethnic Armenian separatists say that the 24-hour offensive killed at least 200 people and injured 400 more.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov — who until recently was holding peace talks with his counterpart — accused Armenia of disinformation.
“Armenia’s attempt to exploit the UN Security Council in its campaign to mislead the international community is deplorable,” he said.
Accusing the Security Council of bias, he said that Armenia had long “fueled separatism” in Nagorno-Karabakh including through military support to the rebels.
Western powers urged Azerbaijan to protect the population.
“If Azerbaijan truly wants to reach a peaceful negotiated solution, it must immediately present tangible guarantees,” French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said.
She called on Baku to “engage in good faith in discussions” on protections of the population and to “rule out resorting to force.”
She also called for the complete opening of the sole road corridor from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, where aid was allowed on the eve of the military operation after months of disruption.
“They must finally accept an international humanitarian presence. This is indispensable as winter comes,” she said.
“Without these guarantees, it will not be possible to have a solution,” she said.
France, which has a large Armenian diaspora, and the United States, which had been spearheading diplomacy between the two sides, both condemned the Azerbaijani military operation.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also criticized Azerbaijan, telling the Security Council that Baku “decided to create facts on the ground by military force.”
©️ Agence France-Presse