Armenia urged the European Union on Monday to sanction Azerbaijan for its military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh and warned that Baku could soon attack Armenia itself unless the West takes firm action, Reuters reports.
Tigran Balayan, Armenia’s envoy to the EU, listed possible measures such as a price cap on Azerbaijani oil and gas and the suspension of EU talks on closer relations with Baku. He also urged the West to deliver “bold” security assistance to Armenia.
“It’s not only the opinion of the Armenian government, but also of many experts – also some of the EU member states – that an attack on Armenia proper is imminent,” Balayan told Reuters in an interview in Brussels.
Azerbaijani forces took control of Nagorno-Karabakh, triggering an exodus of more than 100,000 Armenians in less than a week.
While Baku has insisted it has no intention of attacking Armenia itself, Balayan said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s assurances could not be trusted, noting European officials have declared he broke promises not to attack Nagorno-Karabakh.
He said the EU had many tools to pressure Aliyev – and Nagorno-Karabakh had paid a heavy price because it had not used any of them so far.
“The failure of … employing this toolbox resulted in the ethnic cleansing of 100,000 to 120,000 of the indigenous Armenian population, including my own family, from their ancestral lands,” said Balayan, Armenia’s ambassador-designate to the EU.
Senior EU officials, and leaders of many of the bloc’s member countries, have condemned Azerbaijan’s actions. But the EU has so far taken little in the way of concrete measures in response to the crisis, beyond allocating humanitarian aid.
Diplomats say EU members are struggling to find a consensus. Some, such as France and the Netherlands, want to at least consider tough measures, while others such as Hungary and Romania are reluctant, they say, Reuters writes.
The EU’s search for a response is complicated by its moves to rely more on Azerbaijani oil and gas as it has pivoted away from Russian energy due to war in Ukraine.
But Balayan insisted the EU had real leverage on energy, as Baku relies heavily on European countries as customers.