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Armenian NGOs Urge EU Involvement In Karabakh Peace Efforts


NAGORNO-KARABAKH - Local residents repair a roof with construction supplies brought from Russia as humanitarian aid, November 25, 2020.

A coalition of pro-Western Armenian nongovernmental organizations has urged the European Union to help “establish lasting security and peace” in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone by recognizing Karabakh’s “interim status” and its population’s right to self-determination.

In a weekend statement, the NGOs representing Armenia in the Civil Society Forum of ex-Soviet states involved in the EU’s Eastern Partnership program said the EU should seek the conflict’s resolution based on the so-called Madrid Principles, a framework peace accord put forward by the United States, Russia and France in 2007.

The statement called on the EU to help Karabakh’s civilian population and, in particular, people who fled their homes during the recent war described by it as an “aggression by Turkey and Azerbaijan against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.” It said the 27-nation bloc should initiate an international investigation into “war crimes” committed by Azerbaijani and Turkish forces during the six-week hostilities stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire on November 10.

The NGOs also hit out at Russia, saying that it has not fulfilled some of its obligations stemming from the ceasefire agreement.

“In addition … the Russian peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) has no international mandate, its legal basis is unknown … The powers and rights of the mission are not known either, which severely limits the capabilities of that mission to fulfill its commitments and accountability in ensuring the security of the local Armenian population,” they said.

The EU, the statement went on, should therefore seek the deployment of UN-backed “international peacekeeping forces” to Karabakh alongside about 2,000 Russian soldiers already stationed there.

The political leaders of both Armenia and Karabakh regularly praise Moscow’s role in stopping the war and preventing its resumption. They have also described the presence of the Russian peacekeepers as the decisive factor behind the return of tens of thousands of ethnic Armenian refugees to Karabakh.

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