UN council urges speedy halt to Nagorno-Karabakh fighting

The UN's most powerful body strongly condemned the use of forc

United Nations: The UN Security Council called on Armenia and Azerbaijan Tuesday to immediately halt fighting over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and urgently resume talks without preconditions.

The UN’s most powerful body strongly condemned the use of force and backed Secretary-General ‘Antonio Guterres‘ earlier call to immediately stop fighting, deescalate tensions and return to meaningful negotiations without delay.

Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict

The two neighbors have been locked in conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region of Azerbaijan that has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. International efforts to settle the conflict have stalled, and clashes have been frequent.

The council expressed full support for the central role of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, which has been trying to mediate peace talks and urged the sides to work closely with them for an urgent resumption of dialogue without preconditions.

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In a press statement read by the council president after closed consultations, members expressed concern at reports of large scale military actions and expressed regret at the loss of life and toll on the civilian population.

European Council’s response

Five European council members France, Germany, Britain, Belgium, and Estonia asked for the closed council meeting following the upsurge in fighting. U.N. political chief Rosemary DiCarlo briefed members on the current situation.

Germany’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Gunter Sautter called on neighboring states to play a more constructive role in this regard and avoid everything that could further raise tensions, according to the text of his remarks to the council which was released.

He said German Chancellor Angela Merkel underlined to the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in phone calls that the conflict must be resolved on the principles of non-use of force, territorial integrity, and self-determination.

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United Nation’s response

Estonia’s U.N. ambassador Sven J rgenson urged both sides in his remarks, which were also released, to respond to secretary-general Guterres’ call on March 23, which he reiterated to world leaders last week, for a global cease-fire to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

We would like to remind that indirect participation in the conflict by external parties is not acceptable and further escalates tensions in the region, an apparent reference to Turkish forces’ support for Azerbaijan.

At almost the same time the council was discussing Nagorno-Karabakh, diplomats from Azerbaijan, and Armenia was trading accusations in the U.N. General Assembly about responsibility for the latest flare-up.

The diplomats were exercising their right of reply to the prerecorded speeches by the leaders of both countries during the annual high-level meeting of world leaders held almost entirely virtually this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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