Joint statement on Azerbaijan’s attack on Nagorno-Karabakh

Joint statement by

· the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, MEP David McALLISTER,

· the Chair of the Delegation for relations with the South Caucasus, MEP Marina KALJURAND,

· the European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur on Armenia, MEP Andrey KOVATCHEV, and

· the European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur on Azerbaijan, MEP Željana ZOVKO,

on Azerbaijan's attack on Nagorno-Karabakh

Brussels, 19 September 2023 - "We condemn in the strongest terms today's pre-planned and unjustified attack of Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh. We deplore the loss of life in reported landmine explosions earlier in the day and express our condolences to the families of the victims. However, this under no circumstances justifies Azerbaijan's large-scale military escalation. The clearly pre-planned attack, reported along the entire line of contact, coming just hours after the blasts and following weeks of observed Azerbaijani military build-up and aggressive rhetoric, is totally unacceptable.

We call for the immediate halt of all military actions. Direct negotiations between Baku and Stepanakert are the only way to achieve progress on the relations between the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians and Azerbaijan and the EU has always been ready to support this process.

We deplore the fact that Baku's offensive seriously undermines the ongoing peace negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia and urge the President of Azerbaijan to accept recent calls of the Armenian Prime Minister for the resumption of talks at the highest level.

We recall that the attack takes place in the context of a major humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, following Azerbaijan's blockade of the Lachin Corridor for the past nine months, in violation of Baku's commitments under the ceasefire statement of 9 November 2020 and of the legally binding orders of the International Court of Justice. Humanitarian access to Nagorno-Karabakh needs to be fully and permanently restored.

We are seriously concerned about the consequences of Azerbaijan's actions on the civilian population and urge Azerbaijan to refrain from using military escalation as a pretext to force the exodus of the local population. In the absence of an immediate halt to the ongoing attack, we call on the Council to fundamentally reconsider the EU's relations with Azerbaijan in this light, and consider imposing sanctions against responsible Azerbaijani authorities."