A group of British politicians who are members of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Armenia have written to the UN Security Council President Sven Jürgenson, slamming the ‘both-sides’ narrative adopted by many during Azerbaijan’s invasion of Artsakh, reports the Armenian National Committee of UK.
Read the letter in full below:
We are writing to you as members of the UK Parliament and representatives of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Armenia to express our concern and fears for the fate of Armenia during this period of national insecurity following the invasion and incursion into Armenia’s internationally recognized borders. We call upon you to help resolve this latest provocation and prevent another illegal war.
Early last month Azerbaijan’s military forces infiltrated the borders of Syunik, the southern region in the Republic of Armenia, intending to take Lake Sev. They advanced three kilometers towards the village of Verishen and it is understood there were about 250 Azerbaijani armed forces stationed there aiming to move towards Vardenis and Sisian. The takeover of these strategic heights took place days before large-scale Azerbaijani military drills along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
The situation intensified late last month when Azerbaijan’s military shot dead an Armenian soldier near the village of Verin Shorzha after Armenian border patrols tried to stop the latest Azerbaijani advancements. The location of the incident was well within the Armenian borders. Two days later, on May 27, Azerbaijan captured six Armenian soldiers near the borders of Gegharkunik.
It is without doubt that the latest provocations are a direct attack against the Republic of Armenia and a threat to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
These incursions come as no surprise as President ALiyev has made several xenophobic and aggressive statements against Armenia since the ceasefire agreement on 9th November 2020. He has vowed to take over 40% of the country’s territory, including capital Yerevan. Last month he threatened to use force to take control of the corridor between Azerbaijan and Nakhijevan through the Syunik region. Azerbaijan’s government has since then openly declared their illegal plans to establish several “corridors” through Southern Armenia and expressed their desire for these corridors to come under the control of the Russian Federation Security Service. Azerbaijan’s president has repeatedly stated he will only negotiate with Russia and not Armenia about her sovereign territory.
The international community remained mostly silent when Azerbaijan invaded Nagorno Karabakh, together with the help of Turkey and Syrian mercenaries, carrying out well-documented war crimes during the 4-day war in 2020. The impunity enjoyed by Azerbaijan has given them the confidence to threaten the territorial integrity of Armenia further, this time for away from the conflict zone.
The lack of condemnation from the international community has emboldened Azerbaijan to continue with their state-sponsored war crimes, ethnic cleansing and atrocities. Azerbaijan’s treatment of Armenian prisoners of war and civilian captives is one of the many examples demonstrating their disregard for human rights and international conventions. We have prepared a document listing Azerbaijan’s human rights violations since the war to highlight the scale of the atrocities committed.
The only way to protect Armenia’s sovereignty is to ensure the international community has a presence in the region, curbing further expansionist plans by certain regional powers. While Armenia may be a small and military insecure nation, its economic potential cannot be ignored. Its growing tech sector, further infrastructure developments especially in the energy sector offer a positive not benefit for the global community. Armenia once again scored higher than her neighbors in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2020 and this form of governance should be encouraged across the region to ensure regional stability. We therefore call upon you to mediate a peaceful resolution to the latest provocations by:
- Calling on Azerbaijan to withdraw its forces immediately and cease open provocations, instead of reverting to the “both side-ism” which suggests Armenians should retreat from their own borders.
- Condemning Azerbaijan’s further attempt to disturb regional peace.
- Condemning the capturing of the 6 Armenian soldiers and demand the release of all POWs and captives detained in Azerbaijan.
- Supporting the creation of a UN-operated security buffer zone along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, which can prevent a new war and stop regional powers from exploiting the current conflict. The buffer zone is also necessary to guarantee the rights of those residing along he border and would offer vital security for the citizens of Armenia.
- Fully supporting the efforts to settle the political status of Nagorno-Karabakh under the guidance of the OSCE Minsk Group and carry out a legally binding border demarcation to establish a means for achieving lasting peace in the region.
Azerbaijan is acting with impunity and the international community has a duty to stop ethnic cleansing of the Armenians in the region.
Armenia’s history dates back over three millennia and it is imperative we preserve the region’s history and culture, and support modern day Armenia’s future potential.
We hope you will join us and support our call to action. We would like to be more than happy to meet your colleagues and you to discuss the human rights violation report we have put together or further discuss Azerbaijan’s latest provocations.