EU issues warning to Baku over Karabakh crisis

EU issues warning to Baku over Karabakh crisis
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Any coercion or attempts to remove the Armenian population from Nagorno-Karabakh will drastically impact EU's ties with Azerbaijan.

David McAllister, chair of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, expressed deep concern over the current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, specifically addressing the safety and wellbeing of the Armenian population in the region. Speaking to The Guardian, McAllister voiced apprehension over the recent developments, highlighting the disconnect between Azerbaijan’s public reassurances and the reported blockages of humanitarian aid corridors.

“These blockages are counterproductive to de-escalating the situation and risk leading to the expulsion of the local Armenian population,” McAllister emphasized. The German centre-right politician further commented on the initial steps towards peace: “The ceasefire and the Yevlakh meeting between the Karabakh Armenians and the Azerbaijani government are just the beginning. Azerbaijan needs to facilitate access for humanitarian groups and assure adequate living conditions to genuinely showcase its dedication to a lasting peace.”

Adding weight to the EU's stance, McAllister insisted that the Union should stand firm against any forced relocations: “The EU must be unequivocal in its message – any coercion or attempts to remove the Armenian population from Nagorno-Karabakh will drastically impact our ties with Azerbaijan.”

For her part, Marina Kaljurand, who chairs the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the south Caucasus, shared her observations with The Guardian. She identified two alarming trends: the increasing anxiety among ethnic Armenians prompting them to contemplate leaving Nagorno-Karabakh and the surge in anti-government demonstrations within Armenia.

Expressing sympathy for the Armenians’ apprehensions, Kaljurand said, “Their fears are valid,” and hoped for unhindered access for humanitarian organizations in the troubled region.

Commenting on the internal political turmoil in Armenia, the Estonian parliamentarian pointed out that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has shown a clear inclination towards the West, distancing Armenia from Russia. “Europe should bolster its support for the Armenian government in these testing times,” Kaljurand concluded.