The President of the European Council Charles Michel called on President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan to ensure that Wednesday’s ceasefire is implemented and the security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh is guaranteed. Meanwhile a group of European lawmakers called for sanctions against Azerbaijan and its leadership.
This comes after Artsakh authorities accepted the terms of a Russian-brokered ceasefire that ended Azerbaijan’s military aggression and halted the large-scale attack launched against Artsakh on Tuesday.
The agreement called for the compete disarming of the Artsakh defense army and security services.
“Called on Azerbaijani President Aliyev in a phone call this morning to ensure full ceasefire & safe, dignified treatment by Azerbaijan of Karabakh Armenians. Their rights and security need to be credibly guaranteed. Access needed for immediate humanitarian assistance,” Michel said in a post on X.
Azerbaijan’s attack on Artsakh Tuesday prompted a chorus of condemnation from lawmakers in Europe, some of whom have called for sanctions against Azerbaijan and its leaders.
The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German parliament, the Bundestag, Michael Roth called on the EU to act quickly to prevent ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh and an attack on Armenia’s territory.
“The EU strategy of parity between Armenia and Azerbaijan has failed. We must now act quickly and decisively to prevent ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh and an attack on Armenia’s territory. This is the only language that autocrats like Aliyev understand: The EU needs to get a political and economic sanctions regime in place as soon as possible to bring Baku back to the negotiating table,” said Roth in a social media post on Wednesday.
“I welcome the ceasefire, but it should not be used to displace civilian population in Nagorno-Karabakh. We should significantly strengthen the EU civilian mission EUMA to further monitor the entire – border and line of contact to stabilize the situation and identify possible Azerbaijan attacks on Armenian territory. We must support the young but fragile democracy in Armenia and bring it closer to the EU. Ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh may contribute to the downfall of Armenian democracy. Visa liberalization would be a first important step towards rapprochement,” Roth said on X.
In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Roth said that a clear message must be sent to Baku that the aggression won’t be tolerated. “Naturally this includes revision of economic relations, if a country with whom we conduct trade is resorting to military force,” he said.
Member of the European Parliament Miriam Lexmann of Slovakian also called on the EU to impose sanctions against Azerbaijan following its attack on Nagorno-Karabakh.
Speaking at the European Parliament Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Lexmann said the EU should temporarily suspend all bilateral relations with Azerbaijan until it starts respecting human rights and international law.
She said that the EU’s actions contradict its actions, noting that EU’s gas deal with Azerbaijan hasn’t decreased gas dependency from Russia. The MEP called on the EU to check whether the gas supplied by Azerbaijan isn’t actually Russian gas.
The latest Azeri attack in Nagorno-Karabakh is the continuation of the Armenian Genocide, Member of the European Parliament Giorgos Georgiou from Cyprus said.
“Everything began as genocide in 1915 perpetrated by the Turks, and continues today as genocide and ethnic cleansing by Mr. Aliyev, who is a close ally of Mr. Erdogan,” the Georgiou said at the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.
“Unfortunately he is also the EU’s close partner. Recently Mrs. Von der Leyen stated that Mr. Aliyev and Azerbaijan are reliable partners, because we are blinded, because we want to buy natural gas from Azerbaijan and distance ourselves from Russia,” Georgiou said, adding that the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh came under attack at a time when Armenia and NATO are holding joint exercises.
It is time for the EU to reconsider its relationship with Azerbaijan and sanction it, Member of the European Parliament Lars Patrick Berg said in a statement after a discussion in the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Following this morning’s meeting of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, I completely agree with my colleagues assessment. It is indeed time for consequences for Azerbaijan, and condemnation is not enough. It is time for the European Union to reconsider the relationship with Azerbaijan, as contrary to the opinion of the President of the European Commission Azerbaijan is manifestly not a reliable partner. It must surely be time for Azerbaijan to be sanctioned, and for the EU to take whatever measures necessary to support Armenia. The Azerbaijan regime has tried starving ethnic Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh, and now they have resorted to shelling civilians in their policy of ethnic cleansing. Enough is enough,” the Berg said.