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Azerbaijan claims victory after Karabakh separatists capitulate

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Armenia criticizes UN Security Council for failure to prevent Azerbaijan’s ‘invasion’ of Nagorno-Karabakh

NEW YORK: Armenia’s foreign minister condemned the UN Security Council for failing to prevent what he described as the start of ethnic cleansing of Armenian populations by Azerbaijani forces in the Upper Mountain region. -Karabakh.

Ararat Mirzoyan’s comments came Thursday as he addressed a special session of the Security Council on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, two days after Azerbaijan launched a military offensive in the region that its Defense Ministry has described as an “anti-terrorism strategy”. ” operation. It followed the deaths of two civilians and four police officers in incidents involving landmines allegedly planted by the Armenian armed forces.

Disputing Azerbaijani authorities’ assertion that the aim of the operation is to combat terrorism, Mirzoyan said it was a “large-scale invasion… in flagrant violation of international law” that hundreds of ethnic Armenians dead, injured or missing.

He added: “The intensity and cruelty of the offensive clearly shows that the intention is to finalize the ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh. The results of this large-scale military operation clearly revealed the atrocious nature of this operation.

“There were clear signs that this was going to happen and we have been sounding the alarm for a long time now, but the international community refused to take this seriously. »

Internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh is an Armenian enclave that has long sought independence from its parent state, sparking two wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan since the 1990s.

Azerbaijan apparently won a decisive victory in the second of these conflicts, in 2020, when it regained control of the region, before a Russian-brokered ceasefire ended hostilities. In May this year, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan recognized that Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan and recognized its sovereignty there.

In December last year, government-backed Azerbaijani protesters blocked the only road linking the enclave to Armenia, preventing food and other essential goods from reaching the region and prompting what the UN described as a humanitarian crisis.

In response to this, the International Court of Justice issued a preliminary ruling ordering the government to “guarantee free movement” on the roads.

Mirzoyan told the Security Council: “This council, as an august body meant to ensure the implementation of court decisions, failed to respond adequately when the International Court of Justice adopted legally binding decisions and those -these have not been respected by Azerbaijan.

“When in April Azerbaijan set up illegal checkpoints and then began kidnapping people, the international community still failed to take adequate action. When Armenia sounded the alarm, the international community reacted to our warnings with skepticism.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov told Council members that the Armenian perspective on events went against UN principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

British Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the UN at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Tariq Ahmad, has called for a halt to all military action and a return to the negotiating table, and urged the UN to support efforts to address immediate humanitarian needs in the region.

“Even though we fully recognize issues of sovereignty and territorial integrity, military power cannot be used to resolve tensions between communities,” he said. “Direct dialogue is the only way to find true and lasting peace, real lasting solutions.

“It is therefore now vital that negotiations resume with the representatives of the Armenians on the basis of a credible plan aimed at guaranteeing the rights and security of all in the region and allowing them to live in peace.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for strict observation of the 2020 ceasefire agreement. Miroslav Jenca, assistant secretary-general for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas at the Department of Political Affairs, stressed the need to protect the civilian population of the region and said that it was necessary to ensure that their basic needs were met, including the preservation of their human rights. rights, is the absolute priority.

“Genuine dialogue between the Azerbaijani government and representatives of the region, as well as full commitment to the normalization process by Armenia and Azerbaijan, constitute the only sustainable path forward,” Jenca said.

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