Azerbaijan is engaging in a “full-swing ethnic cleansing” against ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, the country’s Ambassador-designate to the European Union has claimed.
Tigran Balayan, who also serves as the Ambassador to Luxembourg and Ambassador-designate to Belgium, told Brussels Signal that Azerbaijani forces have been attacking civilians in the contested region even after the latest announcement of a ceasefire.
“There are dozens of killed and injured [people] after the announcement of [the] ceasefire,” he said, describing one instance of Russian forces transporting internal refugees being “targeted by Azerbaijani occupying forces”.
He added that international attempts to persuade Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev – whom he labelled a “dictator” – to avoid attacking the region had completely failed.
“Now there is a full-swing ethnic cleansing going on,” Balayan claimed. “The Srebrenica in the 21st Century is happening before our eyes and not prevented by the international community, which had and still has all the tools to do that.”
Balayan also criticised the EU, which he said could have introduced “early warning and preventive sanctions” against Azerbaijani officials, whom he described as having been pushing for “war and ethnic cleansing at least for the last several years”.
He added that the EU could still step in and take action to mitigate the crisis.
“We do still think that the EU has a full toolbox in its possession to prevent the further deterioration of the situation,” he said.
Azerbaijan said it was executing an “anti-terrorist operation” and launched attacks against several targets in Nagorno-Karabakh. https://t.co/rMENGfevMW
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) September 19, 2023
The Armenian official’s criticism of the EU was relatively mild compared to others within the bloc.
Writing on X, Michael Roth – a senior politician in the German Government – accused the EU of not having succeeded with its foreign policy in the region.
“The EU strategy of equidistance between Armenia [and] Azerbaijan has failed,” he wrote online.
“We must now act quickly [and] decisively to prevent ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh [and] an attack on [Armenian] territory.”
The implementation of such sanctions, he added, was now necessary as it “is the only language that autocrats like Aliyev understand”.
The humanitarian mission failed in its objectives as Azerbaijan did not want to let the delegation pass. https://t.co/gAgaiRRYmF
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) September 1, 2023