Chair of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the South Caucasus, Marina Kaljurand, the European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Armenia, Andrey Kovatchev, and the European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Azerbaijan, Željana Zovko, issued a joint statement on the recent deadly attacks on Armenia’s borders by Azerbaijan.
“We deplore the death of three Armenian servicemen on July 28 in clashes with Azerbaijani forces at Armenia’s Gegharkunik province border after Armenian positions and several villages were reportedly fired at since early morning, and express our deep condolences to their families. Unfortunately, this is just the latest in a series of incidents or provocations over the last months, including violations of the inter-state border that began with the incursion of Azerbaijani troops into Armenian territory on May 12,” said the European Parliament member in their statement.
“The recent exchange of fire at the Nakhchivan border, where another Armenian soldier died, was no less concerning. We call on both sides to strictly observe the ceasefire and refrain from any provocations. Any possible disagreements about the border must be addressed through negotiations in a border delimitation and demarcation process, not through the use of force and unilateral actions,” added the statement.
“All forces need to pull back to positions held before 12 May and in line with the provisions of the Tripartite Ceasefire Statement. To de-escalate the situation, it is of utmost importance that inflammatory rhetoric ceases immediately. In this context, we condemn in particular recent statements by Azerbaijani representatives regarding so-called ‘West Zangezur’ and referring to the territory of the Republic of Armenia as Azerbaijani ‘ancestral land,’” said the European lawmakers.
“Such statements are highly irresponsible and threaten to undermine regional security further. We recall the EU’s commitment to support confidence-building measures and the addressing of any issues at the negotiating table, including through the resumption of negotiations on a lasting conflict settlement and the future status of Nagorno Karabakh,” concluded the statement.
Paul Gavan, a rapporteur from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the “Humanitarian consequences of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” on Friday called on the leadership of both countries to de-escalate and respect a ceasefire after border incidents which recently caused the death of three Armenian servicemen and one Azerbaijani serviceman.
“There has unfortunately been a steady increase in incidents between May and July of this year, and these have reached a new level with regrettable injuries and loss of life, which is of great concern to me,” Gavan said. “I have been contacted by both parties, which shows they wish to avoid the situation worsening. The long-standing humanitarian concerns which affect the lives of individuals, each side of the border, cannot be addressed unless violence stops. I urge all those concerned to show responsibility in order to build peace and reconciliation.”
“I therefore hope that both countries will pull back from any further steps which might worsen the situation. We need to avoid this continuing cycle of conflict,” the rapporteur concluded.
Gavan will present his report on the “Humanitarian consequences of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan” to the PACE at its next plenary session, scheduled for September 27 to October 1.