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EU condemns Azerbaijan's offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh

by Martin Fornusek September 19, 2023 9:14 PM 3 min read
Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the von der Leyen Commission, stands in the European Parliament building and speaks. (Photo by Philipp von Ditfurth/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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The EU top officials condemned Azerbaijan's military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh launched on Sept. 19, calling for immediate cessation of hostilities.

"The EU condemns the military escalation in Karabakh and deplores the loss of lives," EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said.

"We call for the immediate cessation of hostilities and Azerbaijan to stop the current military activities. Commitment by all sides is required to work towards negotiated outcomes."

Baku launched a military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh earlier on Sept. 19 with the claimed "goal of restoring the constitutional order" in the region. Shelling and explosions have been reported in Karabakh's de facto capital Stepanakert and other areas.

According to the latest information published by the Ombudsman of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, 25 people have been killed as a result of the hostilities and another 138 have been injured.

The Azerbaijani leadership asked "the illegal Armenian military formations" to surrender, while Yerevan denied the presence of its units in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenia denounces Azerbaijan’s offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh, claims Armenian forces ‘not involved’
Armenia denounced Azerbaijan’s military offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh, but claimed that Armenian forces are not stationed there and do not take part in hostilities, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said on Sept. 19.

President of the European Council Charles Michel joined Borrell in denouncing Baku's moves.

"Military actions of Azerbaijan must be immediately halted to allow for a genuine dialogue between Baku and Karabakh Armenians," Michel wrote on the social platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

According to the Agence France Presse, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held phone calls with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and French President Emmanuel Macron over Azerbaijan's military operations in Karabakh.

Reuters reported later on Sept. 19 that the U.S. is trying to engage both parties in an attempt to de-escalate the situation.

Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized as Azerbaijan's territory under international law. Its population of 120,000 is predominantly Armenian.

The territory declared independence in 1991 with Yerevan's military support. Until 2020, Armenia de facto controlled Nagorno-Karabakh together with the surrounding regions.

In 2020, Azerbaijan launched a military operation establishing control over parts of Nagorno Karabakh.

In November 2020, Russia brokered an armistice between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Moscow sent forces to patrol the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.

In 2022, Yerevan accused Russia of failing its peacekeeping mission when Moscow began withdrawing its troops in 2022 and allowed Azerbaijan to blockade Nagorno-Karabakh, preventing basic supplies from reaching the population.

The U.S. and EU have called on Azerbaijan to end the blockade.

In February 2023, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in favor of Yerevan's appeal to lift the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Baku denied imposing a blockade.

Commenting on the issue, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said "Armenians living in the Karabakh must either accept Azerbaijani citizenship or look for another place to live."

Azerbaijan says it will continue Nagorno-Karabakh offensive until ‘illegal Armenian military formations’ surrender
Azerbaijan’s Presidential Office said on Sept. 19 that it would continue the military operation against Nagorno-Karabakh until “the illegal Armenian military formations” surrender.
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