Nagorno-Karabakh flares up again - GulfToday

Nagorno-Karabakh flares up again

 Over 30,000 people have been killed, more than 4,500 are missing, and thousands have been injured by landmines and unexploded ordnance in the conflict.

Over 30,000 people have been killed, more than 4,500 are missing, and thousands have been injured by landmines and unexploded ordnance in the conflict.

Azerbaijan has sent its forces into the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh calling it as “anti-terrorist operations” and it wants the withdrawal of ethnic Armenian forces from the area. The dispute goes back to the 1990s when the Soviet Union fell and its constituent republics like Azerbaijan and Armenia became independent. The dispute flared up several times in the 1990s and the last time it broke into an armed conflict was in 2020. The surprise came from Azerbaijan’s timing of the attack. There have been immediate responses from the rest of the world.

France and Germany are supportive of Armenia, and they want Azerbaijan to end the attack immediately. French President Emmanuel Macron had talked to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and told him that France would move for an emergency United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting over the issue. The Armenian government in its statement about the Macron-Pashinyan talks said, “The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh after the attack of Azerbaijan was discussed. Both sides emphasised the inadmissibility of using force and the need to use international mechanisms for de-escalation.”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock from New York, where she is attending the United Nations General Assembly said, “Baku’s promise to refrain from military action was broken. Azerbaijan must immediately stop shelling and return to the negotiating table.”

Turkey supported the Azerbaijan action but insisted that talks between the two sides is the only solution to the problem. The Turkey foreign ministry in a statement said, “As a result of its rightful and legitimate concerns about the situation on the ground that it voiced repeatedly…since the end of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, Azerbaijan was forced to take measures it deems necessary on its sovereign territory.”

Russia on its part is in touch with both sides, and it has urged diplomatic negotiations to end the conflict, according to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia was “deeply worried about the sharp escalation of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Russia strongly encourages the conflicting sides to stop the bloodshed. Stop the military actions at once and return to political and diplomatic settlement.” Armenia’s foreign ministry appealed to Russia to intervene to stop the Azerbaijan attack.

Hikmet Hajiyev, foreign policy adviser to Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, was quite clear that Baku was ready to talk to the Karabakh Armenians but he said that the “foreign military formations” must raise the white flag and surrender the arms. He also said that Baku cannot any more put up with the presence for forces challenging Azerbaijian sovereignty. Hajiyev said, “We cannot tolerate any longer having such armed forces on our territory and also a structure which, on a daily basis, challenges the security and sovereignty of Azerbaijan.”

The eruption of violence at Nagorno-Karabakh when the world is facing a full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine is a setback for peace and stability in the region. The implied support for Armenia by France and Germany does not really help the cause of peace, nor does Turkey’s defence of Azerbaijan’s action. There is need for other countries to push Armenia and Azerbaijan to the negotiating table. Russia had expressed its concerns over the conflict and it has urged both sides to end hostilities and get back to dialogue, but it may not have an impact because Russia is engaged in a war with Ukraine.

United Nations General Secretary Antonio Guterres will be talking to the delegations of Azerbaijan and Armenia who are in New York to attend the General Assembly’s 78th meeting, to find a solution. The Nagorno-Karabakh flare-up cannot be treated as an isolated issue in an interior part of Asia because it is these small conflicts that pose a danger to world peace.

Related articles

Other Articles