Karabakh issue most dangerous unresolved conflict in Europe
Despite the fact that the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict poses a threat to the regional security of the wider Middle East, it has received very little attention, wrote political analyst Rachel Avraham in an article posted on JerusalemOnline.com.
Since the beginning of 1988, there has been a conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which was occupied by Armenia, wrote the author, according to Trend.
As a result of this conflict, around 25,000 people have been killed and over one million people have been made refugees, according to the article.
“Armenia has illegally occupied one fifth of Azerbaijani territory and has made one out of every nine Azerbaijanis either a refugee or an internally displaced person as part of Armenia’s ethnic cleansing campaign,” says the article.
Numerous UN Security Council resolutions have demanded the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied Azerbaijani lands, says the article, however, Azerbaijani officials have complained that many governments have taken no action in support of implementing UN Security Council resolutions on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“While many refer to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue as the frozen conflict, it should be noted that it can erupt into a full-scale confrontation at any time and remains the most dangerous unresolved conflict in wider Europe,” says Avraham. “Last year, the conflict did erupt. Nevertheless, the international community still neglects to pay sufficient attention to this conflict.”
Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to the US Elin Suleymanov explained the situation in his interview with the Jerusalem Post, said Avraham.
“Our displaced population is not engaged in any violence. They did not emigrate anywhere. Our refugees and internally displaced people moved in the areas outside the occupied areas in Azerbaijan and have built their lives there,” she quoted Suleymanov as saying.
Suleymanov noted that Azerbaijan made great efforts in repatriating Azerbaijani refugees and if the refugees build a normal life for themselves, “the world seems to say you have no rights. In a sense, it is unfair. The world rewards violence.”
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.