Statement by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and United Nations at the United Nations Security Council.
“We welcome – in particular – the participation by Armenian Foreign Minister Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Bayramov in today’s important discussion. It’s good to see you both again, today. We wish it was under slightly difference circumstances, I’m sure.
But like others around this table, the United Kingdom has been alarmed about the formidable pressures that have been faced by the population of Nagorno-Karabakh. The humanitarian need on the ground is immense, it is growing, it is great.
Earlier this week, like as we’ve heard already from the Minister of State for the UAE, we were all encouraged indeed when we saw that news, albeit small, that there was a small scale movement of humanitarian goods that had taken place, via both the Lachin and Aghdam roads into Nagorno-Karabakh.
This opportunity for progress, however, was sadly cut short by Azerbaijan’s announcement of the start of a military operation. Together with many of our partners, the United Kingdom has urged Azerbaijan to end its use of force, refrain from further escalatory action, and importantly return to dialogue.
While we fully recognise issues of sovereignty and territorial integrity, military might cannot be used to resolve tensions between communities – direct dialogue is the only way to find genuine, sustainable peace, genuine, sustainable solutions.
It is now vital that talks resume with representatives of the Karabakhi Armenians, on the basis of a credible plan to ensure the rights and security of everyone in the region, and to allow them to live in peace.
And at this time in particular, the United Nations and international organisations, such as the ICRC, can also provide crucial assistance in addressing immediate and long-term humanitarian needs.
The further use of violence, Mr President, will only serve to undermine tentative progress towards a sustainable peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which should be based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both countries, which is unquestionably in the interests of the entire South Caucasus.
The United Kingdom on our part welcomes yesterday’s announcement of a ceasefire. We therefore strongly urge all parties to respect that ceasefire, to end the violence, and to engage in urgent, open dialogue on a safe and secure future for the people of the region. And I assure you of our good offices, Mr President, that we stand ready as the United Kingdom to support that crucial process in any way we can”.