Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh
We thank Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Mr.Miroslav Jenča for the briefing on the situation regarding Nagorno-Karabakh. We note the participation in this meeting of Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
On 19 September the armed confrontation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated dramatically. The humanitarian situation has worsened, and there are risks of a steep increase in the number of refugees. Armed clashes have caused civilian casualties.
Unfortunately, Russian peacekeepers again took the brunt of it when performing their duties. Some of them were killed in a shelling. We have taken note of the Azerbaijani side expressing readiness to carry out an immediate thorough investigation of this tragedy and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Despite this difficult situation, the Russian Peacekeeping Contingent (RPC) proceeds with its tasks in good faith and does everything possible to protect the peaceful population. Since the hostilities resumed, the command of the RPC has been in contact with Armenians from Karabakh and Azerbaijani authorities making active efforts to immediately stop the bloodshed and hostilities, as well as to ensure compliance with the norms of humanitarian law with regard to civilians. About five thousand civilians have been evacuated from the most dangerous areas, more than a thousand of them children. People found protection in the camp of our peacekeepers, where they took shelter from artillery and mortar fire. The victims are receiving medical assistance, temporary accommodation and hot meals.
Under active mediation of Russian peacekeepers, an agreement was reached on September 20 on the complete cessation of hostilities from 1 p.m. and the beginning of negotiations on September 21 between representatives of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh and the central authorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The talks are taking place today in the town of Yevlakh with the participation and coordination of Russian peacekeepers. At this point, the priority task is to preclude resumption of hostilities and to bring the situation in the political and diplomatic framework.
Russia continues to play the leading role in promoting normalization between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We are interested as no one else in having this crisis situation resolved as soon as possible.
President of the Russian Federation held talks with Prime Minister of Armenia N.Pashinyan and President of Azerbaijan I.Aliyev. During the talks, hope was expressed that the situation would move towards de-escalation and stabilization. We believe that Armenian-Azerbaijani reconciliation should be accompanied by reliable and clear security guarantees and respect for the rights of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh on the basis of universally recognized international principles.
The framework for the actual parameters of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement was set by Yerevan's recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan's territory in October 2022 and May 2023 at summits under the auspices of the European Union. At the same time, statements that were made after the above-mentioned EU summits, to which Yerevan also subscribed, simply skipped the need to uphold the rights and security of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh.
We trust that the contacts between representatives of Baku and Stepanakert/Khankendi will be effective and will make it possible to immediately launch measures to resolve the humanitarian crisis in the region and ensure stability for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. We will contribute to this in every possible way. A step-by-step road map for the integration of the Karabakh people into the legal field of Azerbaijan with firm guarantees of their rights and security must be worked out. We will actively support these processes through the RPC. Security and the rights of the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians are pivotal.
We proceed from the understanding that the set of trilateral statements made at the highest level in 2020-2022, which created the legal basis for the Armenian-Azerbaijani normalization, remains the only real foundation for a sustainable settlement in the South Caucasus. Also, the region knows no alternative to the role of the Russian peacekeeping contingent.
We intend to facilitate the speedy resumption of work at all tracks of the Armenian-Azerbaijani normalization that is envisaged by the agreements of the three leaders, including the elaboration of a peace treaty, unblocking transportation, delimitation of the border, establishment of humanitarian contacts between the two neighboring nations.