YEREVAN, JANUARY 23, ARTSAKHPRESS. 40 non-governmental organizations of the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) sent an open letter to the leaders of the Co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, urging them to discuss the possibility of deploying additional international peacekeeping forces with the mandate of the UN Security Council in Artsakh to ensure the full security of the Republic of Artsakh and its citizens.
ARMENPRESS reports, the letter reads as follows,
“For almost three decades, the OSCE Minsk Group, and subsequently its three co-chairs, having a relevant international mandate, have played a leading mediating role in searching for ways to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict by peaceful means based on the Charter of the United Nations. The principles of settlement proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs included important international principles, including equal rights and self-determination of peoples, on the basis of which the final status of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) should be determined, as well as the the non-use or threat of force. However, the war of aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh and its people in 2020 with the active participation of Turkey brought to naught the long-term efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs aimed at a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
We believe that the situation resulting from the illegitimate use of force cannot and should not be recognized as a starting point for a comprehensive settlement of the conflict. The independent status of the Republic of Artsakh needs to be recognized by the international community based on respect for the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination. Turkey’s military intervention in the Azerbaijan-Karabakh conflict with the involvement of terrorist fighters from the Middle East, Azerbaijan’s illegal detention of more than a hundred Armenian prisoners of war and war crimes have been condemned by the parliaments of a number of countries and international organizations.
Taking advantage of the difficult international situation and non-recognition of the independence of the Republic of Artsakh, the Azerbaijani authorities have resorted to another criminal action against the people of Artsakh, by blocking transport communication along the internationally recognized Lachin (Kashatagh) corridor, which is the only way connecting Artsakh with Armenia and the outside world.
The blockade of Artsakh, which has been ongoing since December 12, 2022, violates the rights and freedoms of the 120,000 population of Artsakh, including 30,000 children, as well as tens of thousands of women and the elderly. It has caused serious problems with medication and food supply, the country is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. The closure of the transport corridor has led to the suspension of large-scale construction works carried out in the republic to provide housing for refugees and internally displaced persons who left their homes as a result of the occupation of the territories of Artsakh by Azerbaijan in 2020.
Through their criminal actions, the Azerbaijani authorities are trying to create unbearable living conditions in order to force the people of Artsakh to give up on their fundamental rights, including the right to self-determination. As an alternative, either complete extermination or forced displacement of the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh from their historical homeland is proposed.
The actions of the Azerbaijani authorities, officially supported by the leadership of Turkey, turned 120,000 citizens of Artsakh into hostages, and the conditions put forward by official Baku for their release, being political and mercantile in nature, are a manifestation of international terrorism under international law.
The Armenaphobic policy of the Turkish-Azerbaijani tandem continues to this day. Appeals from the United States, European countries, Russia, and in general, implementation of only political measures do not have the proper impact on the genocidal policy of this tandem against ethnic Armenians.
Due to the fact that despite the obligations undertaken under the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020, the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Artsakh is not able to prevent the criminal actions of Azerbaijan, we kindly request to consider the possibility of deploying additional international peacekeeping forces in Artsakh, under the mandate of the UN Security Council to ensure the full security of the Republic of Artsakh and its citizens.
We are convinced that the UN Security Council, where the states you represent have the status of permanent members, has sufficient international legal grounds and opportunities to fully apply the relevant tools to prevent the implementation of genocidal intentions by Azerbaijan and suppress its criminal actions that violate the UN Charter”.