Sunday, December 3, 2023

Azerbaijan says ready to organize UN mission to Karabakh

The authorities of Azerbaijan are ready to organize a visit of a UN mission to Nagorno-Karabakh, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said during a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“A phone call of Ilham Aliyev and Antony Blinken took place on September 26. It was stressed that the Azerbaijani side is ready to organize a visit of UN resident coordinator accredited in the country to Azerbaijan’s Karabakh district,” the press service said.

The president added that an effort is under way to defend the rights of the region’s Armenian population in accordance with Azerbaijan’s legislation and international commitments.

On September 19, tensions flared up again in Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku announced it was launching what it described as “local anti-terrorist measures” and demanded the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the region. Yerevan, in turn, said there were no Armenian forces in Karabakh, calling what was happening “an act of large-scale aggression.” Russia has called on the parties to the conflict to stop the bloodshed, end hostilities, prevent civilian casualties, and go back to trying to settle the Karabakh issue diplomatically. On September 20, an agreement was reached to cease hostilities, and the next day representatives of Baku and the Karabakh Armenian population met in the Azerbaijani town of Yevlakh “to discuss reintegration issues.”

Some Karabakh residents began to leave for Armenian territory on September 24. A refugee center opened in the city of Goris not far from the border. A total of 20,000 refugees have already arrived there.

Blinken has emphasized the need to provide security guarantees and protect the rights of the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh, the US Department of State announced.

Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement that Blinken emphasized “the need for Azerbaijan to refrain from further hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh and provide unhindered humanitarian access.”

“He called on President Aliyev to provide assurances to the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh that they can live secure in their homes and that their rights will be protected,” the statement read.

“The Secretary urged President Aliyev to commit to broad amnesty and allow an international observer mission into Nagorno-Karabakh, and noted the President’s public commitments to help build a future for all those in Nagorno-Karabakh based on peace, mutual understanding, and mutual respect,” it added.

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