Belgium calls for calm in Nagorno-Karabakh

Belgium has called for de-escalation of the situation in the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, after Azerbaijan launched military action on Tuesday. 

“We are following events in Nagorno-Karabakh with concern,” Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib said on X, formerly Twitter. “The only path to peace is that of dialogue and compromise. Belgium calls for de-escalation and a political solution that takes into account the welfare of the population.”

The Azerbaijani army launched what it called anti-terrorist activities in Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday. Baku is demanding the complete withdrawal of Armenian troops and announced its operation after six of its citizens were killed and more than 20 injured by landmines in two separate incidents. It blamed these on “illegal Armenian armed groups”, Reuters reports, a claim that Armenia denies.

Nagorno-Karabakh is on Azerbaijani territory but its population is largely Armenian. The former Soviet republics have been disputing the region for decades. Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence in 1991, but in 2020, Azerbaijan’s army retook control of much of the region. 

Lahbib is in New York for the UN General Assembly. In August, she visited Armenia and Azerbaijan where she held talks with her counterparts in both countries. She called for dialogue and compromise and expressed concern at the deterioration in conditions in the region following a blockade imposed by Azerbaijan on the Lachin corridor that links Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh.


People gather outside the Armenian government building in Yerevan on 19 September 2023 © PHOTO ALEXANDER PATRIN/TASS/SIPA USA

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