EFAy statement on Nagorno-Karabakh events (6th April 2016)

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Recent events in Nagorno-Karabakh have brought violence back to Southern Caucasus. In front of these events, EFAy stresses the urgent need for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, which has been “frozen” for over two decades.

In the early morning of the 2nd of April 2016, Azerbaijani troops entered territory controlled by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR). Since then several other clashes have evolved all over the NKR-Azerbaijan border. So far, more than 30 soldiers have been killed on each side. Although there are major disparities within media in the amount of casualties, it has been agreed by both sides that several civilians have also been killed. As of the 5th of April, both sides have agreed to ceasefire, and the situation stays on a still, but tense, stalemate.

The eruption of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh in such a scale comes as a surprise. As with other “frozen conflicts”, on theory, a war was still being fought in Nagorno-Karabakh, but very few military clashes had occurred in the last years, with the front line staying still since 1994. It seems that the instability in the price of oil, along with increasing discontent with President Aliyev’s regime’s continuous breaches of Human Rights, might have motivated Azerbaijan to revive this conflict, in an attempt to win over domestic support.

In front of this situation, the European Free Alliance Youth urges all parts of the conflict to maintain the current ceasefire, and continue the political negotiations, leaving aside all military operations. This is especially important, considering Nagorno-Karabakh’s proximity to the current area of turmoil in the Levant. An escalation of violence, with the confrontation of Russia’s and Turkey’s allies (Armenia and Azerbaijan respectively) could be the trigger for a full-blown regional conflict in the Middle East, something that must be avoided at all costs.

EFAy urges both parts to negotiate using already established bodies, notably the OSCE Minsk Group. Would these negotiations fail, EFAy would unambiguously support Armenia’s intentions to recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

EFAy considers the exercise of the right of self-determination, as the only long-term solution for the conflict in Artsakh, and the international recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is the only way to enact the democratic decision of NKR citizens.

To sum up: on the short-term, the already established ceasefire must evolve into a peace plan agreed by all sides. On the long-term, the international community will need to follow the steps of the Basque Country and several US states, and recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as a sovereign nation, respecting the right of NKR citizens to choose their own political future.

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