Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

09/28/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/28/2023 07:34

Military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh risks jeopardising peace: UK statement to the OSCE

Thank you Chair.

Azerbaijan's decision last week to commence a military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh put at risk efforts to find a lasting peace settlement. Like many others, the UK urged Azerbaijan to cease its use of force, refrain from further escalatory action, and return to dialogue. While the UK fully recognises Azerbaijan's sovereignty and territorial integrity, military might cannot be used to resolve tensions between communities.

We call on all parties to continue to respect the 20 September ceasefire, welcome the direct talks between Azerbaijan and representatives of the ethnic Armenian community in Nagorno-Karabakh which took place on 21 and 25 September, and call on Azerbaijan to protect the rights and security of that community.

We are concerned about the humanitarian situation, due to the limited access international aid organisations have into Nagorno-Karabakh, and the significant refugee flows from Nagorno-Karabakh into Armenia. We are liaising with the UN, ICRC and others to assess humanitarian need in the region and what further UK assistance is required.

The UK has raised its concerns at the UN Security Council, here at the Special Permanent Council last week, and directly with representatives of the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments. We will continue to monitor the situation, in close cooperation with our international partners.

It is only through diplomacy in line with the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act that we will see a sustainable settlement to this conflict. We urge both Armenia and Azerbaijan to restore substantive negotiations on a settlement to the wider remaining tensions in the region as soon as possible.