The EU said today that it had asked Baku for more details on the vision for the future of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians in Azerbaijan. The request came after talks between foreign policy advisers from Baku and Yerevan, Reuters reported.
It comes as hungry and exhausted Armenian families have clogged roads fleeing their homes in the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, while the United States has called on Azerbaijan to protect civilians and allow the delivery of aid.
The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh began fleeing the enclave after their Separtist forces were defeated in a lightning operation by the Azerbaijani army. At least 19,000 of the 120,000 ethnic Armenians who call home Nagorno-Karabakh have already crossed into Armenia, Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Khachatryan said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) chief Samantha Power of the Armenian capital Yerevan called on Azerbaijan "to uphold the ceasefire agreement and take concrete steps to protect the rights of civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh."
Power, who handed over a letter to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan earlier today expressing support from U.S. President Joe Biden, said Azerbaijan's use of force was unacceptable and Washington was seeking an appropriate response.
She called on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to keep his promise to protect the rights of ethnic Armenians, to keep the Lachinsky Corridor that connects the region with Armenia fully operational, to allow aid deliveries and to allow an international monitoring mission there. The US agency chief added that the US will provide humanitarian aid amounting to 11.5m euros. Dollars.
Nagorno-Karabakh refugees continue to arrive in Armenia
Aliyev pledged to ensure the safety of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians, but said "his iron fist has made history of the idea of the region's independence."
Azerbaijan's victory is shifting the balance of power in the South Caucasus region, a mix of ethnicities and intersections of oil and gas pipelines and where Russia, the United States, Turkey and Iran are vying for influence.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia relied on a security partnership with Russia, while Azerbaijan became closer to Turkey, with which it shares linguistic and cultural ties.
Armenia has recently sought closer ties with the West and accused Russia, which has peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh but is now preoccupied with the war in Ukraine, of failing to protect Nagorno-Karabakh. Moscow denies any guilt and told Pashinyan that "he is making a big mistake by flirting with the United States."
Anatoly Antonov, Russia's ambassador to the United States, said Washington should stop fomenting anti-Russian sentiment in Armenia.