Politics 14:53 22/07/2020 Armenia

Tigran Balayan: New humanitarian disaster is imminent: an appeal to the international partners

Ambassador of Armenia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the OPCW Tigran Balayan has authored an article in Nederlands Dagblad  newspaper on the recent escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

Panorama.am presents the article in its entirety in English below:

“While the rest of the world is trying to address the coronavirus crisis and its consequences on July 12 the armed forces of Azerbaijan, after artillery shelling, attempted to conquer Armenian border posts. There was a lot of damage and sixteen lives lost on both sides. This was a clear violation of the trilateral truce concluded in 1994.

This ceasefire ended the war between Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh, which was supported by Armenia. Almost four year war had preceded, with 35,000 killed. Azerbaijan started that war in response to the intention of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to reunite with Armenia. In 1921 it was separated from Armenia and given to Azerbaijan by Soviet leader Stalin.

The artillery violence is also a violation of the international humanitarian law, because it targeted civilian infrastructure, including villages and homes have been shelled and directly endanger lives.

Armenia has made numerous attempts to draw the attention of other countries to the threat of large-scale violence and called for immediate action. Nevertheless, the mentioned provocation of the armed forces of Azerbaijan to destabilize the situation on the border came as a surprise for the international community The signs, however, were obvious. Azerbaijan faced a financial (licences of 4 banks were revoked) and political crisis, involving tough action against the opposition. Also sharply declining oil prices and the country suffered from the pandemic.

Borders were closed, so Azeris sometimes were stuck a few meters away from the national border and denied access to their homeland. In this situation, the Azerbaijani authorities stepped up their rhetoric, even launching claims about the territory of Armenia. Also large scale military exercises were held (with more than 10,000 soldiers) in the border area. All this to distract the attention of the public from the various crises and protest of the population on tackling COVID-19.

The neglect of human lives and absence of any responsibility of one’s action is vividly expressed in the statement of the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan: “Armenia should not forget that our rockets are directed to its Nuclear Power plant, and we can fire them causing a catastrophe for Armenia”. Azerbaijan has been saying for years that the nuclear power plant poses a threat to the surrounding area, but experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency consider the plant as safe.

Another worrying aspect is the provocative role of Turkey in which the highest political and military leaders openly encourage use of force and promise all possible support in an eventual war against Armenia. Erdogan says: "We will never leave our brother, Azerbaijan, alone. We will support Azerbaijan till the end.”.

Fighter planes and espionage drones have been flying in recent days above the unilaterally closed border between Turkey and Armenia. In support of Azerbaijan, Turkey closed its border with Armenia during the war in 1993. The supply of arms to Azerbaijan has also intensified: a dangerous behavior of a NATO member state that has not been condemned by its allies.

Further intensification of this conflict and its eventual expansion will only lead to a humanitarian disaster with deadly victims and refugee flows.

The message of Armenia is unequivocal: There is no alternative to a peaceful settlement.

We remain committed to this and are working on de-escalation and on an environment, which promotes peace. The international community should support this narrative and urge all sides to strengthen the 1994 ceasefire regime, agree to the proposal on deployment of the OSCE monitors along the trenches, as well as establish an OSCE investigative mechanism into alleged ceasefire violations. Only in this way a lasting peace will be in the sight.

Turkije slaat zorgelijke oorlogstaal uit in conflict tussen Armenië en Azerbeidzjanhttps://www.nd.nl

Source Panorama.am
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