New York, 22 September 2023 (TDI): The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia, and the Americas for the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, Miroslav Jenča, voiced concerns regarding the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict at UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting on September 21.
While speaking about the recent escalations in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Miroslav Jenča highlighted at the UNSC meeting that Azerbaijan has announced, in their words, “local counter-terrorism activities in the Karabakh economic region.”
He shared that this announcement by Azerbaijan came in response to the tragic deaths of two civilians and four police officers in the region that allegedly involved landmines weapons placed by the Armenian military.
He also reminded ambassadors at UNSC that in recent months the freedom of movement of local civilians and humanitarian access along the Lachin Corridor and Aghdam road have been major sources of tension and sharp exchanges between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Moving forward, UN Assistant Secretary General, Miroslav Jenča stressed that in a recent event of serious escalation in military operations at the Nargorno-Karabakh region across the Line of Contact between the Armenian and Azerbaijan forces, the civilian casualties had been reported, as well as thousands of evacuated within the flashpoint region.
In emphasizing the severity of the conflict, Miroslav Jenča stressed that the UN has no observers in the region and was unable to verify the various claims and allegations put forward by both countries.
UN’s concerns and the way forward
When speaking about the graveness of escalations, Miroslav Jenča stated, “The Secretary-General remains deeply concerned about the impact of the escalation on the fragile humanitarian situation and calls on the parties to urgently facilitate unimpeded access” of relief to all civilians.
Miroslav Jenča focused before the UNSC that in light of the 2020 Trilateral Statement by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres urges all concerned parties to strictly observe the ceasefire.
He also asserted that the UN Secretary-General urges the concerned parties to continue to abide by the obligations relating to international humanitarian and human rights law in the current situation of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.
The UN in the wake of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict has supported the full implementation of the 2020 Trilateral Statement following the ceasefire of that year and paid efforts to reduce tensions and advance the normalization of relations between the two countries.
Assistant Secretary-General Jenča also stressed that the slight rise in violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan recently should be viewed within a broader pattern of ceasefire violations which have continued to persist.
The Assistant Secretary-General Jenča called for a credible and durable end to the fighting at the UNSC.
“Any renewed escalation would lead to further loss of life and human suffering and further set back internationally supported peace efforts.”, Assistant Secretary-General Jenča added.
Furthermore, Miroslav Jenča asserted that the protection of civilians including their basic human rights must be the overriding priority.
In summation, he urged that the only sustainable way forward to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict is through genuine dialogue between Azerbaijan and representatives of the region.
The Assistant Secretary-General Jenča also assured for UN’s full engagement in the normalization process.