(Reuters) – Armenia urged on Saturday for the rapid deployment of a UN mission to monitor human rights and security in Nagorno-Karabakh, amid evidence that supplies may be arriving in the separatist area under a tenuous truce.
Azerbaijan proclaimed a cease-fire on Wednesday after compelling Armenian separatist forces to accept the entire restoration of Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian region, to Azeri sovereignty. Armenians in the area say they fear persecution if they stay.
Karabakh, although is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, has been controlled by a separatist administration since the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union was disintegrating. Azerbaijan has vowed to defend Armenian rights, but they are free to leave if they so want.
“The international community should undertake all efforts for the immediate deployment of an interagency mission by the UN to Nagorno-Karabakh with the aim of monitoring and assessing the human rights, humanitarian, and security situation on the ground,” Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said in a speech to the United Nations, according to a transcript.
Speaking at the UN, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov stated that his nation will continue to work on “advancing post-conflict peace-building, reintegration, and peaceful coexistence.”
Armenia, typically backed by Russia, lost a 2020 war over Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan, aided by Turkey. It has made accommodations for tens of thousands of Armenians leaving the region, including hotels near the border, while Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has stated that they should only leave their homes if absolutely required.
Security Council members have urged for regional peace, while a number of Armenia’s Western allies have condemned Azerbaijan’s military action.
With hundreds of Armenians in Karabakh without food, an International Committee of the Red Cross assistance convoy arrived in the region on Saturday, the first since Baku’s attack.
Russia announced the delivery of more than 50 tons of food and other help to Karabakh.
With 2,000 peacekeepers in the region, Russia reported that six armored vehicles, more than 800 small arms, anti-tank weaponry, and portable air defense systems, as well as 22,000 ammunition rounds, had been given up under the conditions of the truce by Saturday.
On social media, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated, “The United States will continue its steadfast support for Armenia and its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”