Members of the European Parliament Frank Engel, Josu Juaristi, Peter Niedermüller, Jaromír Štětina and Josep-Maria Terricabras and Director of the European Friends of Armenia (EuFoA) Diogo Pinto have issued a joint Statement on recent escalation in the Karabakh conflict zone. The statement reads:
“The recent conflict escalation in the Line of Contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, which has yet again led to the regrettable death of civilians, is a matter of great concern to all of us who believe in the values of peace and understanding. In this regard, we would like to offer our condolences and express our deepest sympathy to the relatives and friends of the victims.
Zahra Guliyeva and her grandmother Sahiba are the most recent victims of the repeated violations of the ceasefire by the Azerbaijani armed forces, and their usual practice of shelling Nagorno-Karabakh from positions located too close to civilian settlements (practice condemned by the Geneva Convention and that constitutes in itself a war crime), putting their own population at risk.
These two names join a long list of both civilians and soldiers, Armenian and Azerbaijani, who paid the ultimate price for the indifference of the international community and its failure to prevent the continued violations of the ceasefire regime by the armed forces of Azerbaijan.
Since last year’s Four Day War and the refusal of President Aliyev to implement the agreements to expand the capabilities of the OSCE ceasefire monitoring mission, Azerbaijan has not only intensified its anti-Armenian rhetoric and war threats against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, but also escalated hostilities. This is Baku’s response to increasing external pressure caused by deteriorating situation of human rights and freedom of the media in the country, and recent accusations of Azerbaijan’s involvement in the traffic of weapons for terrorist organizations.
We call for an immediate halt to Azerbaijan’s military aggression, and reaffirm our belief in that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved peacefully, and in full respect of the right to self-determination of the local population. This is the only way to stop claiming the lives of civilians and young conscripts on both sides.
Further escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh risks bringing more instability to the entire region, and provoking yet another humanitarian crisis in the EU’s neighborhood.
We therefore call on the European Union to actively contribute to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by supporting the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, and suspending political engagement with Azerbaijan until it ceases violating the ceasefire and commits to the respect of human rights and good neighborly relations.”