Armenia says it fears Karabakh ‘genocide’, seeks UN help
Armenia said Thursday it would appeal to the international community to help prevent “genocide” in Nagorno-Karabakh after criticising the role of Russian peacekeepers in the breakaway region in Azerbaijan.
The Caucasus-region arch foes have fought two wars for control of the mountainous Karabakh region since the 1990s, with both Moscow and the West playing mediation roles.
Yerevan has said that an Azerbaijani blockade of the only land link between the separatist stronghold and Armenia has spurred a humanitarian crisis there.
Baku has denied the accusations.
“Azerbaijan’s political-military leadership is preparing an ethnic cleansing, a genocide in Karabakh,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told a meeting of his cabinet.
“Russian peacekeepers are the guarantors of the security of the population of Karabakh and if they can’t ensure it, they must turn to the UN Security Council to prevent genocide,” he said referring to Moscow’s troops.
Pashinyan added that he had instructed his foreign ministry to “launch international mechanisms on preventing genocide… within the framework of the UN.”
Baku and Yerevan’s most recent war ended in 2020. The six-week conflict in autumn was brought to a halt with a Russian-brokered ceasefire and the deployment of Moscow’s forces.
Under that deal, Yerevan ceded to Baku swathes of territories it had controlled for decades.
Pashinyan said Yerevan will also initiate talks with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the return of Armenians to the territories in Karabakh under Azerbaijani control and to the surrounding areas.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, ethnic Armenian separatists in Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan. The ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.