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EU and US Call for Greater Access for Aid Groups to Help Ethnic Armenians Fleeing Conflict in Azerbaijan

The EU and US urge Azerbaijan to give aid groups more access to ethnic Armenians as conflict escalates

The European Union (EU) and United States (US) have called on Azerbaijan to allow aid groups greater access to ethnic Armenians affected by the ongoing conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee the area, prompting concerns over the humanitarian situation.

EU Council president emphasises the need for transparency and access

Charles Michel, the President of the EU Council, stated that transparency and access for international humanitarian and human rights actors are crucial. He also called on Baku to provide more details on its vision for the future of Karabakh Armenians in Azerbaijan.

High-level talks held in Brussels

Michel hosted talks between Armenian security council chief Armen Grigoryan and Azeri presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev in Brussels. The meeting included representatives from France and Germany, and focused on addressing the urgent needs of the local population in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The possibility of Armenian and Azeri leaders meeting on the sidelines of an upcoming EU summit was also discussed.

US urges Azerbaijan to protect rights of civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh

Samantha Power, the head of the US Agency for International Development, called on Azerbaijan to maintain the ceasefire and take concrete steps to protect the rights of civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh. She stressed the importance of independent monitors and humanitarian organisations being granted access to the affected population.

Growing exodus of ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh

Over 19,000 ethnic Armenians have already fled Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia proper in recent days, with reports of a 100km-long traffic jam of refugee vehicles heading towards the Armenian border. Despite promises from Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev to grant full rights to those who stayed, many remain skeptical due to his history of anti-Armenian aggression and propaganda.

Russian peacekeepers accused of allowing Azeri forces through

Luc Devigne, the EU foreign service’s Russia director, revealed that Russian peacekeepers had allowed Azeri forces to pass through during the conflict. Devigne suggested that Russia wanted to punish Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for his attempts to establish closer ties with the West. The resulting refugee flow could potentially destabilise Pashinyan’s pro-Western government, providing an opportunity for Russia to install a pro-Russian figure in his place.

Pashinyan reaffirms pivot to the West

Despite the defeat in Nagorno-Karabakh, Prime Minister Pashinyan reiterated his commitment to establishing closer ties with the West. He criticized Armenia’s former reliance on Russia for security and expressed the need for Armenia to join the International Criminal Court. Russia accused Pashinyan of shifting blame to Moscow and attempting to distract from his alleged failures in domestic and foreign policy.

Russia denies involvement in opposition protests

In response to protests in Yerevan over the Nagorno-Karabakh defeat, Russia stated that it does not engage in fomenting opposition protests, unlike the West. The Kremlin has historically attributed popular uprisings in former Soviet states to Western interference.

Conclusion

The EU and US are putting pressure on Azerbaijan to ensure aid groups have access to ethnic Armenians affected by the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. The situation remains tense, with a growing number of people fleeing the region. International efforts are ongoing to address the urgent humanitarian needs and find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

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